Canada Assumes Chairmanship of Arctic Council

May 15, 2013 - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, today assumed the chairmanship of the Arctic Council for a two-year period, 2013-2015. The Arctic Council is the leading body for international cooperation in the Arctic region.

“I am honoured to chair the Council at this important time in the history of the circumpolar region,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “Canada’s chairmanship theme of Development for the People of the North will put the interests of Northerners first.”

Minister Aglukkaq thanked the Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations and Arctic Council states for their support for the program to be undertaken during the Canadian chairmanship and Sweden, in particular, for its strong guidance over the last two years.

“Canada is determined to see Arctic communities benefit from the economic boom that is unfolding in the region,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “The Arctic Council will establish a circumpolar business forum to foster sustainable circumpolar economic development.”

Following today’s signing by Arctic states of the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic, the Council will focus during Canada’s chairmanship on actions to prevent oil spills in the Arctic marine environment.

Work to increase regional and global awareness of the importance of traditional ways of life of Arctic indigenous peoples will also be undertaken, as will actions on cruise ship operations, traditional knowledge, the promotion of mental wellness in Northern communities and adaptation to climate change.

Following the Arctic Council meeting in Kiruna, Sweden, Minister Aglukkaq will travel to Oulu and Helsinki, Finland, to meet with representatives of the local business community and Northern researchers.

For more information, please visit Canada and the Arctic.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @DFAIT_MAECI