Vinsamlegast notið þetta auðkenni þegar þið vitnið til verksins eða tengið í það: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/28685
In September thirty years will have passed since the former Secretary General of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev gave his famous speech in Murmansk which opened up for possible Arctic cooperation. When this is written the US has just passed the ceremonial gavel over to Finland at the 10th Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska where Foreign Ministers from all eight Arctic States were Head of Delegation for the first time. The third legally binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council was also signed at the Fairbanks Ministerial Meeting and last September the Arctic Council celebrated its 20th Anniversary.
The Arctic Council had low profile in the beginning when it was described as an intergovernmental forum ‘without legal personality’ as it was written in a note from the US Department of State. Today the Arctic Council has become an international organisation which receives great attention from all over the world; ‘A Forum for Peace and Cooperation’ as it was described in a joint statement on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary. The success of the Arctic Council was in the statement attributed to the active participation of the indigenous Permanent Participants, which is in fact what makes the Council a unique organisation. The Council seem though to have failed to address exactly what have probably contributed the most to constructive dialogue in the Council; indigenous peoples – and their rights.
It all started in Rovaniemi, when the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy became reality in 1991 after initiative from Finland, a negotiation process named after this northernmost capital in Finnish Lapland. The Saami people in Lapland are exactly what make Finland, which has no maritime boundaries with the Arctic Ocean, an Arctic nation. Timo Soini, Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs said at the Fairbanks meeting that the Arctic Council was at a crossroads. This thesis examines if that could mean a possible shift in the Arctic Council’s work; where Finland would show a new initiative, in the spirit of the Rovaniemi process, to address the indigenous peoples’ rights – legal challenges and possibilities.