Sklodowska University for making this meeting possible with particular thanks to
Michal Luszczuk and. Krzystof Kubiak for their dedication. Thank you.
Ambassador, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you very much for inviting me to this event, which has brought together renowned Polish and international representatives of the Arctic research and academic community. It is a privilege for us, to be here with you today on the eve of the 80th anniversary of Poland’s first Arctic expedition and six months before Canada assumes its chairmanship in the Arctic Council. Canada's far North is a fundamental part of Canada – it is part of our heritage, our future and our identity as a country. Inuit – which means "people" in Inuktitut – have occupied Canada's Arctic lands and waters for millennia. Canada's North is first and foremost about people – the Inuit, other Aboriginal peoples and Northerners who have made the North their home. The Government of Canada has a clear vision for the North, in which: • • •
we patrol and protect our territory and northern communities through enhanced presence on the land, in the sea and over the skies of the Arctic; self-reliant individuals live in healthy, vital communities, manage their own affairs and shape their own destinies; the Northern tradition of respect for the land & the environment is paramount; the principles of sustainable development, informed by sound science & traditional knowledge, anchor decision making; strong, responsible, accountable governments work together for a vibrant, prosperous future for all.
People of the North are the heart of Canada’s Northern Strategy and Arctic foreign policy. On August 20, 2010, the Government of Canada released a statement on our Arctic foreign policy. This statement articulates the international dimension of Canada’s Northern Strategy, the domestic policy document on visions for the North. There are four pillars to this strategy: 1. Exercising Sovereignty: Exercising our Arctic sovereignty as international interest in the region increases. 2. Economic and Social Development: Encouraging social and economic development and regulatory improvements that benefit Northerners. 3. Environmental Protection: Adapting to climate change challenges and ensuring sensitive Arctic ecosystems are protected for future generations. 4. Governance: Providing Northerners with more control over their economic and political destiny.
If you allow me, I would like to speak with more detail to the first and third pillars – as they relate most to our discussions here: Firstly, Exercising Sovereignty - The Arctic is a fundamental symbol of Canadian identity. Canada’s Arctic sovereignty is longstanding, well established and based on historic title. In this pillar Canada’s priorities include: • •
• • •
Enhancing monitoring and surveillance Securing international recognition for the full extent of our extended continental shelf wherein Canada can exercise its existing sovereign rights over the resources of the seabed Addressing Arctic governance and related emerging issues such as public safety Advancing Canadian Forces’ support for civil authorities Seeking to resolve boundary issues
Secondly, Environmental Protection – An important priority under this pillar is “Advancing scientific knowledge and management of Canada’s land and natural resources” To support Canadian Arctic research, Prime Minister Harper announced in August 2012 $142.4 million for the construction, equipment, and fit-up of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS). To be located in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, CHARS will act as a hub for scientific activity in Canada’s Arctic by anchoring a year-round research presence in the region. It comprises three components: a world class hub for Arctic Science and Technology; an S&T program that delivers excellence and relevance; and, a strong research network across Canada’s north. Throughout 2009-2011, Canada invested $85 million to upgrade key existing Arctic research facilities through the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund. These funds were allocated to 20 projects involving 46 sites. 12 of these were led or co-lead by Northerners. And lastly I would like to mention the International Polar Year (IPY) (2007-2012) which mobilized 1400 researchers and 190 foreign partners from 17 different countries in 67 communities in Northern Canada. Science and research projects within the IPY targeted two main priorities: Climate change impacts and adaptation and Health and well-being of northern communities. The International Polar Year (IPY) 2012 From Knowledge to Action Conference that took place in Montreal this year brought together over 3000 participants from 47 countries (including a significant delegation of Polish scientists). It was the largest “Polar” conference of its kind and among the most important to date for polar science and climate change, impacts and adaptation. I
On August 23rd, 2012, the Prime Minister named the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq as Minister for the Arctic Council and Canada’s Chair of the Arctic Council. Minister Aglukkaq, the first Inuk to be sworn into Canada’s Cabinet, is the Member of Parliament for Nunavut, Minister of Health and the Canadian
Northern Economic Development Agency. Her appointment underlies the priority that the Government places on the Arctic, and its commitment to ensure that the region’s future is in the hands of northerners. Minister Aglukkaq will be responsible for developing and delivering the Arctic Council program that will be undertaken during Canada’s chairmanship. She is working closely with territorial governments, Canadian indigenous Permanent Participants and other Arctic Council States to develop Canada’s Chairmanship program. While Canada’s priorities will emerge in the coming months, Canada will champion initiatives that deliver concrete results for circumpolar communities. Northerners have contributed greatly to the discussions taking place at the Arctic Council since its early beginnings, and Northerners continue to have an important role in shaping Canadian policy on Arctic issues.
Ending off - I would like to leave you with this image. The map shows the land area of Canada’s North (approximately 3,593,589 square kilometers) relative to the area of the European continent. What you see here in blue are three territories – Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. They are inhabited by 107, 265 Canadians (according to the 2011 Census of Population). That is more or less one sixth of Wroclaw’s population.
Lastly, I would like to thank the authorities of the Lower Silesia University and Lublin’s Marie CurieSklodowska University for making this meeting possible with particular thanks to Michal Luszczuk and Krzystof Kubiak for their dedication.