Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 385

Commentary The Arctic Council Permanent Participants: Capacity & Support – Past, Present & Future Jim Gamble The six Indigenous organizations which are the Permanent Participants (PPs) of the Arctic Council (AC) are as varied as the people, geographic regions, and cultures they represent. What they do have in common however is the challenge of representing their constituencies and contributing to the work of an ever expanding AC which in many cases has grown faster than the PPs have been able to adapt. Indigenous organizations have been involved in international work through entities like the United Nations since long before the AC existed, so given that this voice was present and the growing realization among industry, policy makers, and scientists that Indigenous knowledge could not only be useful, but in many cases was essential to understanding the Arctic. Not only this, but in many cases Indigenous peoples were actually land owners and rights holders in the Arctic, and so consultation, negotiation, and agreement with the people who lived on the land was often a matter of law. So, in the earliest seed of the AC, the Rovaniemi Process, the notion that the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic should have a seat at the table was present. When the Rovaniemi Process was formalized into an agreement among the eight Arctic states to form the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) three organizations were established as observers when the following was stated: Jim Gamble is the Executive Director of the Aleut International Association.