Ottawa Declaration Current Affairs - 2019

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India re-elected as an Observer to Arctic Council

At 11th Arctic Council ministerial meeting held at Rovaniemi in Finland, India was re-elected as an observer to intergovernmental forum Arctic Council. India promised its commitment towards contributing more to Arctic Council.

About 11th Arctic Council

Major issues discussed at the Council meeting:

  • With growing tensions worldwide, how to deal with global warming and jurisdiction of Arctic’s wealth of minerals.
  • Concerns over renewed climate policies of US President Donald Trump.
  • China’s (an observing nation in Arctic Council) “Polar Silk Road” plan (as melting ice has opened up new northern shipping routes), which it outlined in 2018.
  • Russia’s Northern Fleet modernization and reopened Cold War military bases.

About Arctic Council

  • It was established in 1996 by Ottawa Declaration.
  • Headquarter: Tromso, in Norway.
  • Members (8): Russia, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark (representing Greenland and Faroe Islands), Canada and United States.
  • Iceland currently holds council’s rotating chair.
  • Representation: by Indigenous groups and council also has 13 observer states (are non-Arctic countries invited to council meetings but have no voting rights).
  • Function: It is a high level intergovernmental forum which addresses issues faced by Arctic states, its indigenous people and its other inhabitants. It seeks to promote coordination, cooperation and interaction among them on common issues but mainly on environmental protection and sustainable development in Arctic.

India and Arctic Region

  • Indian researchers have been studying whether there is a co-relation between Indian monsoon and the Arctic region.
  • National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, an Indian institute under Ministry of Earth Sciences, has set up research station, ‘Himadri’, in Svalbard (Norway). It studies and works on mass balance of glaciers, effect of climate warming on marine system, clouds formation and precipitation, and also effect on biodiversity.