Arctic Indigenous Voices
Increased Arctic shipping due to climate change can have a major impact on the Arctic environment, and thus indigenous communities. Increased shipping may significantly affect specific Arctic waters, food security, subsistence activities, the environment and wildlife. Arctic communities, Arctic food security, and Indigenous peoples’ cultures stand to be impacted by increased shipping. Many issues and concerns surrounding increased shipping are discussed across multiple regional, national, and international government bodies. However, the IMO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, is the only agency that sets international maritime rules.
With increased international vessel transits through Arctic waters, there is a need to set standards that protect the livelihoods of Arctic Indigenous peoples. However, there is a glaring lack of direct input or independent representation by Arctic Indigenous peoples in creating or advising on the development of international maritime law for the region.
Friends of the Earth seeks to:
- Advocate for Arctic indigenous voices to be heard. For over two years, Friends of the Earth has partnered with indigenous organizations to bring indigenous representatives to IMO to help them learn about the organization and experience first-hand why IMO deliberations have an impact on their communities. Indigenous peoples have been heard numerous times by the IMO.
- Partner with indigenous organizations to advance joint environmental interests and initiatives. FOE staff have presented to numerous indigenous organizations on the issues being discussed at IMO, and let them know how they can be part of IMO deliberations using our experience as the oldest environmental non-profit with consultative status at the Organization.
- Empower Arctic peoples through capacity building and knowledge. FoE has worked with indigenous organizations to help them think about how they can be more involved, such as potential ways to obtain official IMO consultative status, and have the capacity to be more engaged.
In an agreement announced today, the owners of the Anacortes Oil Refinery agreed to withdraw plans to manufacture and export 15,000 barrels per day of mixed xylenes — petrochemicals used to make plastics — through the Salish Sea.
We are grateful to the House of Representatives for listening to the people of Bristol Bay and Alaska who overwhelmingly oppose this disastrous project. Senator Murkowski and the entire Senate should follow the lead of the House, and pass this amendment to protect Bristol Bay’s people and environment.
The Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes the progress made this week at PPR 6. Today, we are one-step closer to improving the protection of the Arctic, its people and wildlife.
It is important for Arctic Indigenous peoples to be heard at this crucial meeting, to help people understand why we need the Arctic to remain cool by reducing emissions from shipping and other sectors.
It’s not every day that elder Alaska Natives are heard and respected by leaders from around the world.
We would see an estimated 700% increase in shipping traffic in the Salish Sea. With it would come increased risks to fishing families, coastal communities and our marine wildlife.