GRID Polar Division News

GA side event: The Arctic - a barometer of global change

GRID-Arendal hosts a unique side event at the Commission of Sustainable Development meeting in New York 26 April. The side event: The Arctic - a Barometer of Global Change and a Catalyst for Global Action will join Borge Brende, the Norwegian Minister for the Environment, Sheila Watt-Clouthier, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Dr. Oran Young, Chair of the Arctic Human Development Report and other high level people in a discussion about the implications to sustianable development in both a global and regional context and the necessary steps to be taken.

Arendal/New York 16 April 2004 - GRID-Arendal hosts a unique side event at the Commission of Sustainable Development meeting in New York 26 April. The side event: The Arctic - a Barometer of Global Change and a Catalyst for Global Action will join Borge Brende, the Norwegian Minister for the Environment, Sheila Watt-Clouthier, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Dr. Oran Young, Chair of the Arctic Human Development Report and other high level people in a discussion about the implications to sustainable development in both a global and regional context and the necessary steps to be taken. A video on pollution in the Arctic presenting results from the second Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program will also be made available at the event. The event has been arranged with support from the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment and with participation from the Working Groups of the Arctic Council.

The challenges facing indigenous peoples in particular will be highlighted. Their needs are demonstrably great in social, economic, and environmental terms. At the same time, the case for international responsibility toward the people of this region is strong: persistent toxic substances and greenhouse gases originate primarily from outside the region; expanding industrial development often provides little opportunity for economic development for local people and often conflicts with the maintenance of traditional lifestyles.

This side event will examine the relevance of sustainable development issues of the Arctic region in a global context and demonstrate how measures being taken regionally can help address global challenges. Many of the cross cutting issues being addressed at the meeting are of direct significance to Arctic peoples, namely poverty eradication; unsustainable patterns of production and consumption; protecting and managing the natural resource base; health; education; and the role of the arctic in a globalizing world. By examining how this region contributes to sustainable development, it will provide a complement to discussion on Africa, demonstrating the inherent connectivity of all the regions of the world.

The twelfth session of the Commission of Sustainable Development (CSD-12) opened on 14 April at UN Headquarters in New York. For the first three days (14-16 April), CSD-12 will serve as a preparatory meeting for the ten-year review of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The following two weeks (19-30 April) will serve as the CSD-12 Review Session.

The GRID-Arendal side event will take place from 1.15-2.45 pm in conference room 6.

For more information on this event please contact: Tiina Kurvits, North American Coordinator, tiina.kurvits@grida.no, telephone: +1 613 943 86 43.

Friday 16 Apr 2004