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HOME > Activities & Initiatives

ICC is the body that represents all Inuit from Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka on matters of international importance. ICC was founded in 1977 when Inupiaq Eben Hopson invited to Barrow, Alaska numerous other Inuit to discuss ways in which a common response could be developed to address increasing attacks on the Inuit way of life, environment, and human rights that were initiated by industry, states, and others with interests in the Arctic.

Since 1977, Inuit from the circumpolar world have met through periodic general assemblies held every three or four years. At these assemblies, delegates have directed ICC to involve itself in various activities and initiatives that promote Inuit unity and contribute to achieving the founding goals of ICC. In 2002, when ICCs 9th General Assembly was held in Kuujjuaq, Canada, elected delegates provided mandates to ICCs executive council through the Kuujjuaq Declaration. This document, containing 25 separate recommendations, was ICCs primary roadmap for the period 2002 2006.

The Declaration was not the only guide that led ICC through the four-year period. It was complemented by the executive councils own mandate and elected authority to develop additional initiatives as new challenges arose within its term. Also, ICCs Principles and Elements for a Comprehensive Arctic Policy has, since 1991, been a very useful tool in helping respective councils plan and implement activities, and this was also the case for 2002 2006. The Kuujjuaq Declaration was, nevertheless, the central document most consulted by the Council, and makes up the basis for this report on activities.

Not all of the 25 Articles contained in the Declaration were implemented. Some of the factors for this were lack of resources, shifting political landscapes, unforeseen events, and the inability at times to simply move governments, international organizations, and other factors in desired directions. In spite of periodic roadblocks, the Executive Council did, in fact, achieve much success. Most of the mandates outlined in the Declaration have either been completed or significant headway was made on them.

From 2002 2006, ICC undertook activities such as those related to Inuit language promotion, trade matters, communications, environment, human rights, sustainable development, intellectual property rights, resource use, hunting and whaling matters, assisting Russian indigenous peoples, helping youth, and facilitating elders meetings. ICC did this through international bodies as well as through specific projects. Some of the bodies and forums included the Arctic Council, the United Nations, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Convention on the Trade of Endangered Species, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Organization of American States, the International Whaling Commission, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the World Conservation Union IUCN.

ICC focused much of its efforts within the Arctic Council, which is the 8-nation intergovernmental body where governments as members and indigenous peoples organizations as permanent participants work collaboratively on a variety of environmental and sustainable development issues. ICC was active in the various working groups and program areas of the Arctic Council including the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the working group on the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), the working group on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG), and the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA).

ICC was also very active within the United Nations and its various subsidiary bodies. These include the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which advises the UNs Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the UN Human Rights Commission and its Working Group on Indigenous Populations, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and UNESCO, which promotes the preservation of indigenous languages, among others. One of the key areas of ICCs UN work over the past four years has been the culmination of 11 long years of work on adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The years 2002 2006 were important years for all Inuit in our circumpolar homeland. In this period, Canadian Inuit saw the last of the land claims settlements finalized with the creation of the Nunatsiavut Government in Labrador. Greenland Inuit finalized a 4-year evaluation, in cooperation with Denmark, of the Home Rule system since it was first established in 1978, and also started a Greenland-based self-government commission, which will explore ways in which further self-rule may be negotiated with Denmark. In Chukotka, the Yupik Society was re-established and more favourable relations took hold between the Chukotka Administration and Inuit there.

Many of the activities of ICC involved sharing of experiences and facilitating dialogue across the Arctic, including those relating to these new forms of self-government. The Kuujjuaq Declaration was an important piece of work, just as the Kuujjuaq-hosted General Assembly was in 2002. As it will be replaced by the Utqiaġvik Declaration in Barrow, Alaska, it is important to take stock of the activities and initiatives undertaken by ICC over the past 4 years.


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