Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)

Inuit Circumpolar Council


The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) represents Inuit in Greenland/ Denmark, Canada, Alaska/USA and Chukotka/Russia

Founded in 1977 by the late Eben Hopson of Barrow, Alaska, the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) has flourished and grown into a major international non-government organization representing approximately 150,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka (Russia). The organization holds Consultative Status II at the United Nations.

To thrive in their circumpolar homeland, Inuit had the vision to realize they must speak with a united voice on issues of common concern and combine their energies and talents towards protecting and promoting their way of life. The principal goals of ICC are, therefore, to

  • strengthen unity among Inuit of the circumpolar region;
  • promote Inuit rights and interests on an international level;
  • develop and encourage long-term policies that safeguard the Arctic environment; and
  • seek full and active partnership in the political, economic, and social development of circumpolar regions.

ICC has focused great efforts within the Arctic Council, which is the 8-nation intergovernmental body where governments as members and indigenous peoples' organizations as permanent participants work collaboratively on a variety of environmental and sustainable development issues. ICC has been active in the various working groups and program areas of the Arctic Council including the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the working group on the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), the working group on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG), and the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA).

ICC has also been very active within the United Nations and its various subsidiary bodies. These include the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which advises the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the UN Human Rights Commission and its Working Group on Indigenous Populations, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and UNESCO, which promotes the preservation of indigenous languages, among others. One of the key areas of ICC's UN work over the past four years has been the culmination of 11 long years of work on adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

From 2002 - 2006, ICC undertook activities such as those related to Inuit language promotion, trade matters, communications, environment, human rights, sustainable development, intellectual property rights, resource use, hunting and whaling matters, assisting Russian indigenous peoples, helping youth, and facilitating elders' meetings. ICC did this through international bodies as well as through specific projects. Some of the bodies and forums included the Arctic Council, the United Nations, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Convention on the Trade of Endangered Species, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Organization of American States, the International Whaling Commission, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the World Conservation Union - IUCN.

The years 2002 - 2006 were important years for all Inuit in our circumpolar homeland. In this period, Canadian Inuit saw the last of the land claims settlements finalized with the creation of the Nunatsiavut Government in Labrador. Greenland Inuit finalized a 4-year evaluation, in cooperation with Denmark, of the Home Rule system since it was first established in 1978, and also started a Greenland-based self-government commission, which will explore ways in which further self-rule may be negotiated with Denmark. In Chukotka, the Yupik Society was re-established and more favourable relations took hold between the Chukotka Administration and Inuit there.

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Contact the Arctic Council Secretariat
Fram Centre, Postboks 6606 Langnes, 9296 Tromsø, Norway

  • Phone: + 47 77 75 01 40

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