Nunavut, Greenland and ICC leaders deliver Arctic wish list for COP21 agreement

Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna, Greenland Minister Vittus Qujaukitsoq and ICC Chair Okalik Eegeesiak released a joint statement Tuesday calling for interests of Arctic Indigenous Peoples to be recognized in the Paris agreement.

Inuit food security and recognition of traditional knowledge part of Arctic leaders recommendations

Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna, ICC Chair Okalik Eegeesiak and Greenland Minister of Finance, Mineral Resources and Foreign Affairs Vittus Qukaukitsoq released a joint statement Tuesday at COP21 in Paris. (Submitted by Government of Nunavut)

Leaders from Nunavut, Greenland and the Inuit Circumpolar Council have sent out their wish list of what they want to see in a final agreement when the COP21 climate change conference ends this week in Paris.

Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna, Greenland Minister of Finance, Mineral Resources and Foreign Affairs Vittus Qujaukitsoq and ICC Chair Okalik Eegeesiak released a joint statement Tuesday. It coincides with Arctic Day at the Indigenous Peoples pavilion at the conference.  

The leaders lay out nine points they are calling on all nations at COP21 to deliver to address the "acute impacts" the Arctic is experiencing from climate change, including stabilizing global greenhouse gas concentrations below 450 parts per million by volume to make certain global temperature increases will remain between 1.5 C and 2 C. 

Their other recommendations include: 

  • recognizing and protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the values, interests, culture and traditions of the Peoples of the Arctic.
  • ensuring equal access to the right to development, also for the Peoples of the Arctic.
  • acknowledging the extremely high cost of living in the Arctic and not imposing further financial burden to Arctic regions.
  • advocating the development and expansion of energy solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, also for areas like the Arctic.
  • ensuring that Inuit food security is protected.
  • promoting the need for adaptation action in areas that are disproportionately affected by climate change, such as the Arctic, and for sustainable funding to support such initiatives.
  • recognizing the importance of Indigenous knowledge, its significant contribution to our understanding of climate change, and acknowledges its value being on par with scientific data.

"When it comes to climate change, Nunavut is one of the most vulnerable areas on Earth," said Taptuna in a news release.

Qujaukitsoq said Greenland has an important responsibility in promoting international climate research.

"Our joint Inuit voice and our traditional know-how from across the Arctic should be heard and included in international policy-making," he said in the release.

In an interview with CBC, ICC Chair Eegeesiak called on the Canadian government to provide more funding to help Inuit adapt to climate change.

"The Canadian government has invested quite a few million dollars to go to underdeveloped countries to help them with that and I hope that Inuit communities and Nunavut in this case will have access to those funds to help adapt and mitigate."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.