Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


First Arctic dialogue workshop

Event date:
09/03/2010 - 18:00
Table of Contents

     9 March 2010 - Brussels

     The European Commission adopted the Communication on the "EU and the Arctic Region" (COM (2008) 763) on 20 November 2008. This document which forms the first layer of an EU Arctic policy puts a strong emphasis on the role and involvement of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic. Specifically, the European Commission commits itself to "Engage Arctic indigenous peoples in a regular dialogue". The Council in its Conclusions on Arctic Issues of 8 December 2009 has also underlined the importance of supporting sustainable development for indigenous peoples and welcomed the Commission proposal to engage in a broad dialogue with Arctic indigenous peoples on the basis of respect for their rights. With reference thereto, the European Commission organised an 'Arctic Dialogue' workshop on 9 March 2010 at the Berlaymont Building in Brussels that aimed to gather a representative sample of indigenous stakeholders in the Arctic. The goal of the workshop was to establish a constructive dialogue on areas and means of cooperation between the Commission and Arctic indigenous peoples[1].

    The meeting was attended by several high-level representatives of the Arctic indigenous peoples, representatives of the relevant Commission services and the representatives of some Arctic States. The complete list of participants is attached to the note.

    Following a short introduction on the Commission policies regarding the Arctic region and indigenous peoples issues, the organisations representing the indigenous peoples were given the opportunity to make introductory statements. The initiative was generally well appreciated by the participants of the workshop. The speakers underlined the importance of involving indigenous peoples' representatives effectively in all decision-making processes that affect them. Several associations present expressed their disappointment with the approach taken by the EU on the regulation on trade in seal products. Some representatives of the Arctic indigenous peoples questioned the fact that the government representatives were present at the meeting. The Commission explained that it tried to ensure a full transparency of the process.

    There were no definitive conclusions as to the format of the future dialogue. However, the participants put forward several ideas:

    • working group on indigenous peoples issues under Northern Dimension policy
    • inclusion of  issues on Arctic indigenous peoples in bilateral relationships
    • formal memorandum of understanding
    • developing set of guiding principles
    • indigenous peoples' office in Brussels
    • Sami Parliament's role vis-à-vis Lisbon Treaty
    • coordination with EU in international organisations
    • communication via Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples Secretariat

     As regards the content of such a dialogue, among the various items suggested for further discussion were the following:

    • promoting rights of indigenous peoples at international level
    • enhanced global governance in the Arctic
    • education and capacity building
    • research incorporating traditional knowledge
    • climate change: mitigation, adaptation, use of traditional knowledge, short lived climate change forcers, socio-economic impacts
    • transboundary pollutants
    • human health and social issues
    • biodiversity
    • animal products
    • corporate social responsibility (e.g. code of conduct for industries)
    • maritime transport (e.g. shipping standards, safety, future transportation routes/ passages, emergency response, Arctic tourism, including cruise ship tourism)
    • upcoming EU legislation relevant for the Arctic indigenous peoples
    • revolving list of issues

    It was generally concluded that the meeting was a useful attempt at exploring the options for future dialogue between the European Commission with the Arctic indigenous peoples. The objectives and working arrangements of the cooperation will require further reflection and discussion.





    External Participants


    Terry Fenge

    Senior Policy Adviser


    Arctic Athabaskan Council- Canada

    Joseph Linklater



    Gwich'in Council International  - Canada

    Bridget Larocque

    Executive Director


    Gwich'in Council International  - Canada


    Aqqaluk Lynge



    Inuit Circumpolar Council - Greenland

    Chester Reimer

    Senior Adviser


    Inuit Circumpolar Council

    Rodion Sulyandziga



    Russian Association of Indigenous peoples of the North (RAIPON)


    Erik Gant

    Acting Executive Secretary


    Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat

    Bjarne Store-Jakobsen



    BEAC Joint Working Group on indigenous peoples, Norway

    Mikhail Pogodaev

    Executive Chair


    Association of World Reindeer Herders

    Anders Oskal



    International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, Norway

    Frank Sejersen


    International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Denmark


    Johannes Rohr

    Russia Coordinator

    International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Denmark


    Christina Henriksen



    The Norwegian Barents Secretariat


    Giles Norman



    Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region

    Ole Samsing

    Senior Adviser


    Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Denmark

    Helena Odmark



    Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Sweden

    Anton Vasiliev

    Ambassador at Large


    Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Russia

    Margaret Caton

    First Secretary (Environment & Transport)


    US Mission to the EU, Brussels


    Stefan Mikaelsson



    Sami Parliament's General Assembly, Sweden

    Inuuteq Holm Olsen

    Deputy Minister


    Greenland Self-Governance

    Lida Skifte Lennert

    Head of Representation/Minister Counsellor


    Greenland Representation

    Nauja Bianco

    Project Leader


    Nordic Council of Ministers

    Anna Gran



    Nordic Council of Ministers

    Sergey Kudryavtsev



    Permanent Mission of the Federation of Russia to the European Union


    Stewart Arnold



    Office of Diana Wallis MEP, European Parliament


    Steffen Weber

    Head of Office

    Office of B. Schnieber Jastram MEP, European Parliament


    Lotta Numminen

    Finnish Institute of International Affairs



    Commission Participants


    Eddy Hartog


    Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

    Zuzanna Bieniuk


    Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

    Thomas Dux


    Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

    Fernando Garces


    External Relations

    Petteri Vuorimaki


    External Relations

    Alexis Loeber


    External Relations

    Davide Zaru


    External Relations

    Paula Hokkanen


    Europe Aid

    Jaime Reynolds



    Dorothée Convens-Billerbeck



    Niels Kristensen



    Josep Casanovas


    Transport and Energy

    Nadia Bergamino




    [1] The text of the documents cited you may find at our website: