Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 203

203 Arctic Yearbook 2015 and (3) the West Nordic countries should jointly strive for international support for their plans, e.g. by attracting foreign investors. The issue of a common strategy on the Arctic and the reinforcement of the relative standing of the three West Nordic countries was a subject of debate during the 2014 session of the West Nordic Council, which took place in Reykjavik in mid-September 2014 (Ryggi 2014). As a result, the Council communicated a request to the governments of Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands to develop such a strategy (Konradsdóttir & Nielsson 2014). This matter has been also expected to top the list of topics of discussion at the next session of the West Nordic Council in 2015 (Ryggi 2014). It would appear that the spheres of operation that could create a foundation for a common Arctic policy among these three countries include: extraction of energy resources, natural resource management, development of transport infrastructure, and the promotion of tourism. A real step in the direction of strengthening the position of the West Nordic countries in Arctic cooperation was the West Nordic Council’s petition for Observer status with the Arctic Council, made in August 2013. The Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians (CPAR) Another of the institutions selected for this analysis – but one focused strictly and exclusively on the Arctic region as a whole – is the Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians (CPAR), which takes place every two years (Puig 2008: 99). Its roots can be found in the conference organized by the Nordic Council in Reykjavik on August 17, 1993 (The Nordic Council's International Conference for Parliamentarians on Development and Protection of the Arctic region 1993). The announcement made after the conference had declared the creation of a new body – the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region. The Committee began operations in September 1994; its members met three or four times a year to discuss the current situation in the region as well as to evaluate the impact of previous announcements and resolutions promulgated by the Conference. The first role of the Committee was to support the initiative to create the Arctic Council.6 Once this formally occurred in 1996, the Standing Committee took the role of an Observer entity (formally from 1998). The members of the Standing Committee also function jointly to represent Arctic interests as Observers in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) (Langlais 2000: 28). In 1999, the Committee drafted and recognized its own overall rules and regulations, and the rules of the Conference were also laid out (Langlais 2000: 29). Meetings of the Conference are attended by delegations from the parliaments of the eight Arctic states as well as the European Parliament, while the proceedings also feature input from ‘Permanent Representatives’ of organizations that represent the indigenous peoples of the Arctic as well as envoys from different international organizations or Observer countries of the Arctic Council. In recent years, both the Conference and the Standing Committee are clearly involving themselves in deliberations on shipping, education and social development, as well as climate change in the Arctic. In the Declaration of the participants of the 11th (and most recent) Conference, which took place on September 9-11, 2014 in the Canadian town of Whitehorse, a number of additional areas of interest were indicated, including: (1) infrastructure for balanced development, (2) management models and decision Łuszczuk