Press Release: Welcome to the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting 2 May 2013Sweden On 15 May 2013 the Arctic Council will hold its biennial Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna in the north of Sweden. Media are invited to a web cast press briefing with the Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials on 6 May. On 15 May approximately 300 people – ministers, delegates from the eight Arctic states, representatives of indigenous peoples, scientists and observers – will gather in Kiruna to mark the end of the two-year Swedish chairmanship and the beginning of the Canadian chairmanship of the Arctic Council. The ministers will sign an agreement on ‘Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response’. This is the second legally binding agreement among the Arctic States and will enhance response measures and cooperation in the Arctic. The ministers will also welcome the release of several important scientific reports and approve policy recommendations from: • the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, the best available science informed by traditional ecological knowledge on the status and trends of Arctic biodiversity and accompanying policy recommendations for biodiversity conservation, • the Arctic Ocean Review and • the Arctic Ocean Acidification assessment. These reports provide new benchmarks and knowledge about the state of the Arctic environment. Beginning on 14 May, the six working groups of the Arctic Council will make presentations and provide information on accomplishments during the Swedish Chairmanship and their ongoing activities at the ‘Folkets hus’ (the Community Center) in Kiruna. This event is open to the public and media. The Ministerial Meeting will take place on the morning of 15 May at Kiruna City Hall. A press event will be held directly after the meeting. Delegates and media will then visit the LKAB iron ore mine, where the working groups will provide further information on their assessments and policy relevant recommendations. The Kiruna Ministerial Meeting can be followed via web stream from the Arctic Council website. Ministers in attendance: • Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden • Lena Ek, Minister for the Environment, Sweden • Leona Aglukkaq, Minister for the Arctic Council, Canada • John F. Kerry, Secretary of State, USA (tbc) • The Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Iceland • Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway • Villy Søvndal, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Denmark • Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Finland • Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Russia (tbc) Pre-Kiruna press briefing Media are also invited to a press briefing with the Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials, Ambassador Gustaf Lind, on 6 May at 14.00. Mr. Lind will highlight the main substance for the Kiruna meeting. The press briefing will be web-streamed from the Swedish Government’s website. Media who are not able to participate in person are welcome to ask their questions via Twitter on hashtag #askSAOchair. Time and place: 6 May 2013 at 14.00, at Pressrummet, Rosenbad 4, Stockholm, Sweden. Accreditation is required for media representatives who wish to cover the Kiruna Ministerial Meeting. Media accreditation is now closed for applications. For questions regarding media at the Kiruna meeting, please contact: Mr. Claes Jernaeus Claes.email@example.com Kiruna Kiruna is the northernmost municipality in Sweden, and also the largest in terms of area (20,000 square kilometres). It has 23,000 inhabitants. Kiruna combines many extremes: Sweden’s highest mountain, seven large and unspoiled rivers, midnight sun and polar nights, the world’s largest underground iron ore mine, high-tech space research, traditional Sami trades and a successful tourism industry. The city of Kiruna is currently undergoing an infrastructure transformation; due to mining close to the city centre, large parts of Kiruna have to be relocated. Kiruna’s largest industry is the mining company LKAB, which began mining in 1900.