On Thursday October 14th during the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland, a panel debate on sustainable economic development in the Arctic was held. Among the panelists were Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, Member of Parliament Aaja Chemnitz Larsen (IA), Director of the Arctic Economic Council Mads Qvist Frederiksen, EU Special Envoy for Arctic Affairs Michael Mann and CEO of SÝN Heiðar Guðjónsson.
The focus of the panel debate was sustainable economic development and what it will take to attract foreign investment to the Arctic – especially for Greenland the importance of political stability was discussed. The panel debate was followed by the signing of an understanding paper between the Arctic Parliamentarians and the Arctic Economic Council.
Every two years, the Arctic Parliamentarians hold a conference for parliamentarians from the Arctic countries and the European Parliament. At the most recent conference Aaja Chemnitz Larsen was elected chairman. Aaja Chemnitz Larsen states the following about the signing:
“It is very positive that we can sign an agreement on sustainable development in the Arctic. Arctic Parliamentarians are representatives of the people of the Arctic, so it is important to us that economically sustainable development in the Arctic directly benefits the people of the Arctic”.
Mads Qvist Frederiksen, director of the Arctic Economic Council, was also very enthusiastic and stated:
“Partnerships in the Arctic are important. Arctic Parliamentarians are a natural partner of the Arctic Economic Council, as we both represent the entire Arctic, in addition we also have in common that we fight for investment in the region”.
The signed agreement states that the organizations commit to promote sustainable economic development, the promotion of meaningful involvement of indigenous peoples in the Arctic and the promotion of the implementation of the Arctic Investment Protocol as platforms for cooperation.
“With the signing of this agreement, we have taken a new step towards a collaboration that will secure new investments for the Arctic, for the region as a whole, but also for the inhabitants of the Arctic,” says Aaja Chemnitz Larsen in conclusion.
- The Arctic Economic Council (AEC) is an independent organization that facilitates Arctic business-to-business activities and responsible economic development through the sharing of best practices. AEC was created by the Arctic Council during the 2013-2015 Canadian chairmanship.
- Arctic Parliamentarians represent elected members of the Parliaments of the eight Arctic countries and the European Parliament. The Arctic indigenous peoples are permanent participants in the Committee too. Arctic Parliamentarians meet several times a year to discuss matters of importance to the Arctic people. Every second year the members adopt a statement, which outlines the shared the political focus of the Committee members.