Arctic challenges in focus during Minister for Foreign Affairs' trip to Canada
Sweden has reached the halfway point of its Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt is travelling to Canada for political discussions with Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of National Defence and Minister of Health and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency on issues concerning the Arctic region and the work of the Arctic Council.
In speaking with Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, he discussed issues particularly prioritised by the Swedish Chairmanship, including the drawing up of a common political declaration for the Arctic States, the establishment of a permanent secretariat for the Arctic Council in Tromsø, Norway, and the international oil spill agreement that was negotiated.
During the afternoon, Mr Bildt delivered a key policy speech on the Arctic at Carleton University, where he emphasised that the Arctic region is changing and facing major challenges, of which climate change is the greatest. At the same time, the shrinking ice cover, in combination with technological development, is creating major opportunities for the region that were previously not possible.
Today the Minister for Foreign Affairs will continue his travels, visiting Iqaluit in Canada's Arctic region.