Kiruna Declaration: On the Occasion of the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 15, 2013

We, the Ministers representing the eight Arctic States, joined by the representatives of the six Permanent Participant organizations of the Arctic Council, have gathered in Kiruna, Sweden, at the conclusion of the first cycle of Chairmanships for the Eighth Ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council,

Recognizing the importance of maintaining peace, stability, and constructive cooperation in the Arctic,

Recognizing the importance of the sustainable use of resources, economic development and environmental protection,

Recognizing that the Arctic is first and foremost an inhabited region with diverse economies, cultures and societies, further recognizing the rights of the indigenous peoples and interests of all Arctic inhabitants, and emphasizing that a fundamental strength of the Council is the unique role played by Arctic indigenous peoples,

Expressing concern that global emissions of greenhouse gases are resulting in rapid changes in the climate and physical environment of the Arctic with widespread effects for societies and ecosystems and repercussions around the world, reiterating the urgent need for increased national and global actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change,

Noting the substantial progress we have made to strengthen our cooperation and acknowledging the leadership of the Arctic Council in taking concrete action to respond to new challenges and opportunities,



Recognize the central role of business in the development of the Arctic, and decide to increase cooperation and interaction with the business community to advance sustainable development in the Arctic,

Welcome the Arctic Council’s work on corporate social responsibility and sustainable business, and encourage enterprises operating in the Arctic to respect international guidelines and principles,

Recognize that Arctic economic endeavors are integral to sustainable development for peoples and communities in the region, desire to further enhance the work of the Arctic Council to promote dynamic and sustainable Arctic economies and best practices, and decide to establish a

Task Force to facilitate the creation of a circumpolar business forum,

Welcome the Arctic Maritime and Aviation Transportation Infrastructure Initiative and its comparative analysis of seaport and airport infrastructure in the Arctic States, and encourage continued efforts to identify opportunities for complementary infrastructure development and use,

Appreciate that the first legally binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council, the Agreement on Cooperation in Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic, has come into force, recognize its important role for safe transport and enhancing cooperation in assisting people in distress in the Arctic, and acknowledge the importance of continued operational exercises in support of its implementation,

Acknowledge that Arctic peoples are experiencing challenges associated with rapid socio-economic and environmental changes, note the previous work of the Arctic Council to promote mental health in Arctic communities, and decide to undertake further work to improve and develop mental wellness promotion strategies,

Recognize that the use of traditional and local knowledge is essential to a sustainable future in the Arctic, and decide to develop recommendations to integrate traditional and local knowledge in the work of the Arctic Council,

Acknowledge the importance of indigenous peoples’ traditional ways of life to their economic well-being, culture and health, and request Senior Arctic Officials to recommend ways to increase awareness regionally and globally on traditional ways of life of the Arctic indigenous peoples and to present a report on this work at the next Ministerial meeting in 2015,


Recognize that climate change in the Arctic causes significant changes in water, snow, ice and permafrost conditions, with cascading effects on biodiversity, ecosystems, economic and human living conditions in the Arctic with repercussions around the world, and that substantial cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide and other long-lived greenhouse gases are necessary for any meaningful global climate change mitigation efforts, and commit to strengthen our efforts to find solutions,

Recognize that Arctic States, along with other major emitters, substantially contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions, and confirm the commitment of all Arctic States to work together and with other countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to conclude a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force no later than 2015, and urge all Parties to the Convention to continue to take urgent action to meet the long-term goal aimed at limiting the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,

Recognize that reduction of short-lived climate forcers, could slow Arctic and global climate change, and have positive effects on health, and welcome the report on short lived climate forcers, and support its recommendations including that national black carbon emission inventories for the Arctic should continue to be developed and reported as a matter of priority,

Urge the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to take action as soon as possible, complementary to the UNFCCC, to phase-down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons, which contribute to the warming of the Arctic region,

Decide to establish a Task Force to develop arrangements on actions to achieve enhanced black carbon and methane emission reductions in the Arctic, and report at the next Ministerial meeting in 2015,

Welcome the on-going work on the Arctic Resilience Report, and emphasize the need for forward-looking cooperation with a view to increase Arctic capacity to adequately address rapid change and resilience,

Recognize that adaptation to the impacts of climate change is a challenge for the Arctic, and the need for strengthened collaboration with Arctic indigenous peoples and other residents, governments and industry, welcome the reports, key findings and on-going work on the

Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic initiative, and decide to continue the work on enhancing the capacity of decision-makers to manage climate risks including through an on-line information portal and through improved predictions of combined effects,


Announce the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic, the second legally binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council, and encourage future national, bi-national and multinational contingency plans, training and exercises, to develop effective response measures,

Recognize that effective prevention, including related containment practices, is critical to ensuring the protection of the Arctic marine environment from oil pollution incidents, welcome the Recommended Practices in the Prevention of Arctic Marine Oil Pollution Project reports and recommendations to Ministers, and encourage Arctic States to pursue further work in the recommended areas,

Decide to establish a Task Force to develop an Arctic Council action plan or other arrangement on oil pollution prevention, and to present the outcomes of its work and any recommendations for further action at the next Ministerial meeting in 2015,

Recognize the value of sustaining Arctic ecosystems and biodiversity and that the Arctic environment needs to be protected as a basis for sustainable development, prosperity, lifestyles and human well-being, and commit to pursue the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic biological resources,

Note with concern that Arctic biodiversity is being degraded and that climate change is the most serious threat, welcome the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, the first Arctic-wide comprehensive assessment of status and emerging trends in Arctic biodiversity, approve its recommendations and encourage Arctic States to follow up on its recommendations, and instruct Senior Arctic Officials to ensure that a plan for further work under the Arctic Council to support and implement its recommendations is developed, and that a progress report is delivered to the next ministerial meeting,

Encourage Arctic States to take decisive action to help sustain Arctic biodiversity and implement internationally agreed biodiversity objectives, to cooperate on adaptive management strategies for vulnerable species and ecosystems, and to continue existing Arctic biodiversity research and monitoring efforts through the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program,

Welcome the Arctic Ocean Acidification assessment, approve its recommendations, note with concern the potential impacts of acidification on marine life and people that are dependent on healthy marine ecosystems, recognize that carbon dioxide emission reductions are the only effective way to mitigate ocean acidification, and request the Arctic States to continue to take action on mitigation and adaptation and to monitor and assess the state of Arctic Ocean acidification,

Recognize the important ongoing work in the International Maritime Organization to develop a mandatory Polar Code on shipping and decide to strengthen our collaboration in that work toward its expeditious completion,

Welcome the Arctic Ocean Review report, undertaken to provide guidance to Arctic States on strengthening governance in the Arctic through a cooperative, coordinated and integrated approach to the management of the Arctic marine environment, approve its recommendations and request appropriate follow-up actions, and report on progress at subsequent ministerial meetings,

Recognize that there are further persistent organic pollutants to be addressed that pose threats to human health and the environment in the Arctic, encourage Arctic States to continue monitoring and assessment activities and enhance their efforts to meet the objectives of the Stockholm convention, and welcome the completion of the successful demonstration project preventing the release of 7000 tons of obsolete pesticides into the Arctic environment, and look forward to further activities in this area,

Note the work of the Arctic Council in raising global awareness and understanding of the impacts of mercury on the health of people and wildlife in the Arctic, welcome the Minamata Convention on Mercury, appreciate the reference to the particular vulnerabilities of Arctic ecosystems and indigenous communities, encourage its swift entry into force along with robust use and emission reduction actions, and pledge to assist the evaluation of its effectiveness through continued monitoring and assessments,

Welcome the report on Ecosystem Based Management, approve the definition, principles and recommendations, encourage Arctic States to implement recommendations both within and across boundaries, and ensure coordination of approaches in the work of the Arctic Council’s Working Groups,

Agree that cooperation in scientific research across the circumpolar Arctic is of great importance to the work of the Arctic Council, and establish a Task Force to work towards an arrangement on improved scientific research cooperation among the eight Arctic States,


Adopt the statement “Vision for the Arctic”,

Welcome the establishment of the Arctic Council Secretariat in Tromsø, Norway, note the Host Country Agreement signed between the Government of Norway and the Director of the Arctic Council Secretariat, approve its Terms of Reference, Staff rules, Financial rules, Roles and Responsibilities of the Director, and budget for 2013, and instruct Senior Arctic Officials to approve a budget for 2014-2015,

Approve the revised Arctic Council Rules of Procedure,

Note the Chair’s conclusions from the Arctic Environment Ministers Meeting in February 2013, and welcome further high-level engagement and meetings,

Welcome China, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore as new Observer States, and take note of the adoption by Senior Arctic Officials of an Observer manual to guide the Council’s subsidiary bodies in relation to meeting logistics and the roles played by Observers,

The Arctic Council receives the application of the EU for observer status affirmatively, but defers a final decision on implementation until the Council ministers are agreed by consensus that the concerns of Council members, addressed by the President of the European Commission in his letter of 8 May are resolved, with the understanding that the EU may observe Council proceedings until such time as the Council acts on the letter’s proposal,

Acknowledge that the work of the Arctic Council continues to evolve to respond to new challenges and opportunities in the Arctic, request Senior Arctic Officials to recommend ways and means to strengthen how the work of the Arctic Council is carried out, including identifying opportunities for Arctic States to use the Council’s work to influence and shape action in other regional and international fora as well as identifying approaches to support the active participation of Permanent Participants, and to present a report on their work at the next Ministerial meeting in 2015,

Acknowledge the decision of the Permanent Participants to relocate the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat to Tromsø, Norway,

Adopt the Senior Arctic Officials Report to Ministers, including its working group work plans, and instruct Senior Arctic Officials to review and adjust the mandates and work plans of the Arctic Council working groups and other subsidiary bodies, and establish new ones, if appropriate, and to follow up on the recommendations agreed to by the Arctic Council,

Thank the Kingdom of Sweden for its Chairmanship of the Arctic Council during the period 2011-2013, concluding the first round of eight Arctic States chairmanships, and welcome the offer of Canada to chair the Arctic Council during the period 2013-2015 and to host the Ninth Ministerial meeting in 2015.

Signed by the representatives of the Arctic Council
15th of May 2013 in Kiruna, Sweden.

For the Government of
Leona Aglukkaq
Minister for the Arctic Council

For the Government of
Villy Søvndal
Minister of Foreign Affairs

For the Government of
Erkki Tuomioja
Minister of Foreign Affairs

For the Government of
Espen Barth Eide
Minister of Foreign Affairs

For the Government of
Carl Bildt
Minister of Foreign Affairs

For the Government of
Hermann Örn Ingólfsson
Director General

For the Government of
the Russian Federation
Sergey Lavrov
Minister of Foreign Affairs

For the Government of the
United States of America
John F Kerry
Secretary of State

PRN: 2013/0566