(March 11, 2016 – Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) President Cathy Towtongie welcomed the US-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership, released by US President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau yesterday.
“It is heartening to see President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau commit themselves to an active and energetic agenda addressing climate change and other pressing environmental issues” said Towtongie. “We recognize many of the agenda items are related to the Arctic, and also related to Arctic resources development, social and cultural development, and governance concerns”, added Ms. Towtongie. “In that regard, we see important similarities, in both objectives and contents, between the US-Canada Joint Statement and A Circumpolar Inuit Declaration on Resource Development Principles in Inuit Nunaat, adopted by Inuit representatives from Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Russia in 2011”.
Towtongie expressed NTI’s appreciation of the special attention paid in the Joint Statement to the rights and roles of aboriginal peoples as central to successful Arctic priority setting, policy making, and policy implementation, in both the international and domestic arenas.
Towtongie drew further attention to the Statement’s commitment to “working in partnership to implement land claims agreements to realize the social, cultural and economic potential of all Indigenous and Northern communities”. “This is a key point.” said Towtongie, “Agreements made with aboriginal peoples must be fully and fairly implemented in good faith and in a spirit of committed and constructive and creative partnership. With honesty and shared determination we can achieve a great deal.”