Canada to Host Ministerial Meeting of Arctic Ocean Coastal States

(No. 54 - February 3, 2010 - 11:50 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada will host a meeting of foreign ministers of the five Arctic Ocean coastal states on March 29, 2010, in Chelsea, Quebec.

"The objective of this meeting is to encourage new thinking on responsible development in the region from the perspective of the Arctic Ocean coastal states," said Minister Cannon. "This meeting will provide an opportunity for Arctic Ocean coastal states to prepare for and encourage development that has positive benefits, including economical and environmental. It will reinforce ongoing collaboration in the region, including in the Arctic Council."

The five Arctic Ocean coastal states participating in the meeting are Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States.

"The Arctic is a priority for the Canadian government, and Canada is an international leader on northern issues at the Arctic Council and in other forums," said Minister Cannon. "This meeting will allow us to continue to deliver on the four pillars of Canada's Northern Strategy."

To meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, the government has developed a comprehensive Northern Strategy. This strategy is made up of four integrated priorities: exercising Canada's Arctic sovereignty; promoting social and economic development; protecting Canada's environmental heritage; and improving and devolving Northern governance.

"The Arctic is beginning to experience significant change," said Minister Cannon. "Over time, increased access to the region will result in new opportunities and challenges. It is important that we plan now for the future. The Arctic Ocean coastal states are in a unique position to set the agenda for responsible management in the region."

The meeting will take place prior to the G8 foreign ministers meeting, hosted by Minister Cannon at the Château Cartier in Gatineau, Quebec, on March 29 and 30, 2010.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Catherine Loubier
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874