The EU pledged its full support for co-operation on problems such as climate change and pollution in and around the Arctic.
In his closing comments, Janos Herman of the EU Commission told the conference that its main conclusions will exert a critical influence on the EU's own Arctic strategy.
"The conference has been an eye opener. However, we need to acknowledge the enormous complexity of the whole Arctic problem. Close co-operation between all the involved parties is the key to progress," he said before calling for tangible proposals for solutions to the major challenges faced by the region.
"What we really need are user-friendly and tangible ideas for how to approach the problems. Without them, progress will not be made," Herman pointed out.
Herman also stressed the importance of involving the local populations in the countries effected, a point of view fully endorsed by the chair of the conference, former UN diplomat Hans Corell, who also stressed the importance of raising Arctic issues at the highest possible political level if initiatives are to have the requisite impact.
He rounded off with a strong call to the USA and Russia to forget the territorial disputes of recent years and assume a leadership role in and around the Arctic.
UArctic was represented in the meeting by President Lars Kullerud
The conference website: http://www.norden.org/conference.arctic2008/
The Nordic Council of Ministers in the Arctic Region: http://norden.org/arktis/sk/index.asp?lang=2
EU backs joint Arctic initiatives
Tue, Sep 16, 2008
The Nordic Council of Ministers' two-day conference on the Arctic ended with a strong declaration of EU support for new joint initiatives in the region. The EU is due to publish its own guidelines for work in the Arctic this November.