The importance of appropriate Arctic governance in Canada was made apparent during a meeting of the Arctic Council in Montreal, which ran concurrently with the International Polar Year (IPY) conference.
According to Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington, who attended the meeting as a member of the Standing Committee of Arctic Parliamentarians, the North is where the action is right now in Canada.
“It is extremely important what they’re saying there. Climate is moving faster in the Arctic than even the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) had said in 2007. The changes are escalating,” Bevington said.
Approximately 50 people from the Northwest Territories attended IPY, including Bevington. He said there were international concerns regarding what’s happening to climate change policy in Canada. With much data collected since the last IPY conference, Bevington said the key to this year’s conference was taking that knowledge and turning it into action.
While at the conference, Bevington chaired a session on Arctic governance and strengthening the Arctic Council. He said topics included regulating shipping, settling territorial issues, international search and rescue agreements and stressing the importance of keeping indigenous Northerners engaged in the council.
“I’m very much interested in seeing that Arctic governance develops in a way that respects the indigenous people of the North and respects their role in it, but works to bring more countries into line and build multi-lateral relationships on how the Arctic is going to be protected and how it’s going to be utilized,” Bevington said.