The Arctic is home to a diverse group of indigenous people, who depend on the polar region to preserve their culture and traditions. However, the Arctic environment has been subject to the exploitation of its natural resources and global warming, therefore putting at risk the ecosystem and the lands of the indigenous communities. Not only are their rightful territories at risk, but so are the basic notions of human rights, given that the preservation of their social institutions is being jeopardized.
On that note, the Arctic Council (AC) is the main intergovernmental organization of the Arctic states, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants. It is responsible for promoting cooperation and coordination about common issues, in particular on matters of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. The AC is composed of both the 8 Arctic states (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America) and 6 organizations that represent distinct Arctic indigenous peoples, which have obtained the status of Permanent Participants (Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich’in Council International, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, and the Saami Council). The Permanent Participants category was created as a way of providing active participation and full consultation with the Arctic indigenous peoples within the Council, which is why the AC is considered such a unique and democratic international forum.
Focusing on the indigenous communities and understanding the AC as a platform that allows civil society to participate in the policies of the polar region, the Arctic Council of the 20th AMUN looks forward to discussing this year’s topic. Here, delegations will have the unique opportunity of simulating a regional organization in which peoples’ organization have a permanent voice. Nonetheless, the discussion will require the comprehension that not only are these minorities vulnerable to the changes in the Arctic environment, but such events affect climate on a global scale. After much debate and a thorough analysis, the delegations will face the challenge of gathering solutions that settle the interests of both states and native peoples and that mind the current geopolitical status of the Arctic.