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High North – Iceland’s Arctic Policy. Screening Iceland Chapter 31, Foreign, Security and Defence Policy – Bilateral Brussels, 20 May 2011. Iceland’s Position in the Arctic. Country entirely located in the High North, oceanic crossroads

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High North – Iceland’s Arctic Policy


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    1. High North – Iceland’s Arctic Policy Screening Iceland Chapter 31, Foreign, Security and Defence Policy – Bilateral Brussels, 20 May 2011

    2. Iceland’s Position in the Arctic • Country entirely located in the High North, oceanic crossroads • As a coastal state in the Arctic, Iceland has a strong economic, ecological and political connection to the Arctic region • Active participant and contributor to Arctic cooperation and research • Policy firmly based on the principles of sustainable development

    3. The organization of Arctic Affairs • Arctic Affairs • MFA, the Directorate for International and Security Affairs (other relevant ministries: Ministry for the Environment; Ministry for the Interior; Ministry for Education, Science and Culture; Ministry for Industry, Energy and Tourism) • Key institutions • Stefansson Arctic Institute, Environmental Agency, Maritime Administration, Meteorological Office, Marine Research Institute, University of Akureyri, Polar Law Institute.

    4. Arctic and Regional Cooperation • Arctic Council - Member State • Member • Barents Euro Arctic Council, Northern Dimension, Nordic Cooperation, West Nordic, CAPAR • Marine • NAMMCO, NEAFC, NAFO, • Academic • IASC, UArctic, NRF,

    5. Promoting the Arctic Council • Main forum for Arctic cooperation • More policy making role • Legal instruments, e.g. SAR, Oil spill • Enhanced role in regional cooperation – environmental, economic, security, political • Permanent Secretariat • Open to relevant observers • Stronger outreach

    6. Iceland’s Interests as an Arctic Coastal State • Land and vast marine areas within the Arctic • Iceland's economic livelihood interlinked with Arctic resources, e.g fishing, energy and tourism • Important to ensure full participation in all international cooperation on the Arctic

    7. Promoting a Holistic View of the Region • The Arctic needs to be viewed from ecological, economic, political and security perspectives • Shapes both regional and international cooperation

    8. Strong Legal Framework • UNCLOS along with international and bilateral agreements form a comprehensive framework for all uses of Arctic maritime areas • More regional cooperation should be promoted in order to address emerging challenges

    9. Promoting West Nordic Cooperation • Mutual interests in the NW-Atlantic with Greenland and the Faroe Islands • Coastal Economies – trade, energy, resource utilization, environmental issues and tourism

    10. Supporting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples • As a small nation and an advocate of human rights, Iceland is committed to supporting the rights of Arctic indigenous peoples • They should be involved in decision-making in all issues affecting their communities,

    11. Promoting Agreements and Cooperation • Building and developing partnerships and agreements with nations, stakeholders and international organisations, both in the Arctic and outside the area. • Global, regional and national forums – environmental, trade, security

    12. Climate Change Mitigation • Actively support international climate change mitigation efforts • Encourage the development of renewable energy globally • Develop green technologies – fishing vessels, green energy exports • Important to monitor the social and ecological impacts of climate change

    13. Safeguarding Broad Security Interests • General security must be strengthened in the Arctic Region and the militarization of the area prevented • Civilian Prevention, Preparedness and Response mechanism should be further promoted, e.g. AC SAR • Arctic Cooperation, bilateral agreements, NATO, Nordic cooperation and EU enhanced

    14. Making Use of Economic Opportunities • Developing further trade relations between States in the Arctic region • The Icelandic economy and institutions have knowledge, technology and experience that fit well to Arctic conditions • Maritime hub – Gateway – NW and Polar Passages, Arctic and Atlantic • Energy hub – oil, gas and hydro power • Arctic R&D

    15. Centre for Arctic Activities and Knowledge • Advancing Icelanders' knowledge of Arctic issues • Promoting Iceland abroad as a venue for meetings, conferences and discussions on the Arctic region • Enhance institutional capacity in close cooperation with international partners • Consultation and cooperation on a national level will be enhanced involving - ministries, academia, NGOs

    16. Ministry for Foreign Affairshttp://www.mfa.is EU ApplicationWebsitehttp://europe.mfa.is/