Greater Voice of the Indigenous in the Arctic Shipping?


Photo: Handout photo

On January 22, the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) said it would stand for incorporation of Indigenous knowledge in International Maritime Organization work to have a greater voice in shipping. This statement was made at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sub-committee meeting on ship construction in London.

ICC is also aiming for full consultative status at the IMO.

ICC represents the approximately 180,000 Inuit in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka, Russia. Protecting the environment and reducing carbon emissions in general is an important task for Indigenous peoples.

However, it is important to note that Indigenous peoples take the position that a transition to green energy shouldn't come at the expense of the rights of Indigenous peoples. This position is well illustrated by the example of the Fosen wind farm, which is located in central Norway. Despite the fact that the Fosen wind, being Norway’s largest wind farm, could accelerate the transition to green energy, the Saami people are opposed to the project, arguing that the wind turbines will interfere with reindeer migration paths and disrupt their traditional way of life.

Tackling underwater noise is another important challenge facing Indigenous peoples to protect their customary way of life. The reduction of underwater noise pollution is one of the topics at this week’s IMO meeting. Underwater noise can be produced by everything from ship propellers to the form of a boat’s hull to on-board machinery.

The International Maritime Organization approved guidelines in 2014 to address commercial shipping noise. The guidelines give recommendations for shipbuilders and operators.

However, ICC has previously said the progress has been slow due to their voluntary nature. Therefore, the ICC proposes aggressive measures to reduce and eliminate pollution such as black carbon emissions which increase local warming and ice melt, along with discharges of greywater and the use of scrubbers that dump toxic effluent in important ocean areas, ICC said on Monday.

Summing up, the interaction of the Indigenous and other stakeholders within international organizations is important to proceed with Indigenous knowledge, potentially helping to address existing problems.

Source: Eye on the Arctic

The editorial board of The Arctic Century



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