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Arctic Council receives IAIA 2019 Global Award

The Arctic Council is the recipient of the 2019 Global Award of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA).

The Arctic Council has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Global Award of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA). IAIA is an international association of professionals involved in environmental and social impact assessments, which annually awards a leading individual or institution that has contributed to the practice of environmental assessment, management or policy on a global scale.

By awarding the Arctic Council, the 2019 IAIA Awards Committee honors the intergovernmental forum’s efforts to promote cooperation and coordination on sustainable development and environmental protection issues in the Arctic. “The Committee commends the Finnish Chairmanship for its emphasis on the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as its proposal for an Arctic specific environmental impact assessment tool integrating public participation”, states Miguel Coutinho, Chair of IAIA’s 2019 Awards Committee.

Environmental protection is one of four priority areas of the Finnish Chairmanship program (2017-2019). The Council’s Working Groups have significantly contributed to a better understanding of the state of the Arctic environment through its high-level assessments and provided policy advice through recommendations for action. Throughout its Chairmanship, Finland has encouraged the Arctic States to implement those recommendations and to communicate the results in global forums.

Finland also initiated the project “Good Practice Recommendations for Environmental Impact Assessment and Public Participation in the Arctic” (Arctic EIA) carried out by the Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). The project’s aim is to provide Arctic-specific recommendations that can be applied in large-scale projects in the vulnerable and changing Arctic environment, while taking indigenous peoples and other Arctic inhabitants into account.

“We feel honored to receive this prestigious award. It recognizes the very foundation the Arctic Council is built upon: sustainable development and environmental protection. Environmental impact assessments can be an important tool to promote the integration of environmental considerations into economic activities that may have significant impacts on the Arctic environment and people’s health”, says Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials.

The award will be presented at IAIA’s annual conference, which takes place in Brisbane, Australia, 29 April to 2 May 2019 – the week before the Ministerial meeting in Rovaniemi, which concludes the Finnish Chairmanship. It is the eighteenth year the IAIA Global Award has been given. Previous recipients include Danish Institute of Human Rights, Prof. John Ruggie, C.S. “Buzz” Holling, and The World Bank.