Arctic Policy - The Nuuk Declaration
The Nuuk Declaration - September 16, 1993
We, the Ministers of the Arctic Countries,
Recognizing the special role and responsibilities of the
Arctic Countries with respect to the protection of the Arctic
Acknowledging that the Arctic environment consists of ecosystems with unique features and resources which are especially slow to recover from the impact of human activities, and as such, require
special protective measures,
Further acknowledging that the indigenous peoples who have been permanent residents of the Arctic for millennia, are at risk from
Determined, individually and jointly, to conserve and protect the Arctic environment for the benefit of present and future generations, as well as for the global environment,
Noting that in order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it,
Recognizing the importance of applying the results of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development to the Arctic region,
Welcoming the efforts of the elght Arctic Countrles to Implement, through the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, relevant provisions of the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21 and the Forest Principles, efforts which include the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), and the Working Groups on the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response, and the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment,
Affirming Principle 2 of the Rio Declaration on Environment
and Development which affirms that States have, in accordance with the
Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law,
the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own
environmental and developmental policies, and the responsibility to
ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause
damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits
of national jurisdiction,
Further affirming Principle 22 of the Rio Declaration, which states that: "indigenous people and their communities .... have a
vital role in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional practices. States should recognize and duly support their identity, culture and interests and enable their effective participation in the achievement of sustainable development".
hereby make the following Declaration:
- We reaffirm our commitment to the protection of the Arctic Environment as a priority and to the implementation of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy.
- We adopt the report of the Second Ministerial Conference of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, and endorse its provisions to implement the Strategy, in particular:
- seeking resources to enable each country to fully
participate in the program activities under the Arctic
Environmental Protection Strategy;
- endeavouring to support, through these resources,
joint projects in order to ensure that each country is
able to participate in the activities of the Arctic
Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP),
including the completion of national implementation
plans and the comprehensive assessment of results;
- establishing a working group to assess the need for
further action or instruments to prevent pollution of
the Arctic marine environment and to evaluate the
need for action in appropriate international fora to
obtain international recognition of the particularly
sensitive character of the ice-covered sea areas of the
- reaffirming the commitment to sustainable
development, including the sustainable use of renewable
resources by indigenous peoples, and to that end
agreeing to establish a Task Force for this purpose;
- underlining the necessity of a notification system and
improved cooperation for mutual aid in case of accidents in the Arctic area;
- reaffirming that management, planning and
development activities shall provide for the conservation,
sustainable use and protection of Arctic flora and
fauna for the benefit and enjoyment of present and
future generations, including local populations and
- We will cooperate to conserve, protect and, as appropriate,
restore the ecosystems of the Arctic. We will in particular cooperate to
strengthen the knowledge base and to develop information and monitoring
systems for the Arctic region.
- We recognize that effective domestic environmental legislation is a prerequisite to the protection of the environment. As Ministers we shall promote legislation required for the protection of the Arctic environment.
- We support the achievements of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, and state our beliefs that the Principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development have particular relevance with respect to sustainable development in the Arctic.
- We believe that decisions relating to Arctic activities must be made in a transparent fashion and therefore undertake to facilitate through national rules and legislation appropriate access to information concerning such decisions, to participation in such decisions and to
judicial and administrative proceedings.
- We recognize the special role of the indigenous peoples in
environmental management and development in the Arctic, and of the
significance of their knowledge and traditional practices, and will
promote their effective participation in the achievement of sustainable
development in the Arctic.
- We believe that development in the Arctic must incorporate
the application of precautionary approaches to development with
environmental implications, including prior assessment and systematic
observation of the impacts of such development. Therefore we shall
maintain, as appropriate, or put into place as quickly as possible, an
internationally transparent domestic process for the environmental
impact assessment of proposed activities that are likely to have a
significant adverse impact on the Arctic environment and are subject to
decisions by competent national authorities. To this end we support the
implementation of the provisions of the Convention on Environmental
Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context.
- We underline the importance of prior and timely notification and consultation regarding activities that may have significant adverse transboundary environmental effects, including preparedness for natural disasters and other emergencies that are likely to produce sudden harmful effects on the Arctic environment or its peoples.
- We recognize the need for effective application of
existing legal instruments relevant to protection of the Arctic
environment, and will cooperate in the future development of such
instruments as needed. We support the early ratification of the United
Nations Conventions on Biological Diversity and Climate Change.
- We undertake to consider the development of regional instruments concerned with the protection of the Arctic environment.