Canada signs Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation

News Release

May 11, 2017 - Fairbanks, Alaska - Global Affairs Canada

As an Arctic nation, Canada is committed to science-based leadership, including collaborating with the territories and provinces, Indigenous peoples, other Arctic States and communities to more broadly and respectfully include Indigenous science and traditional knowledge into decision making.

Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation in Fairbanks, Alaska, during the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting.

Negotiated among the eight Arctic countries, in consultation with six Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations of the Arctic Council, this agreement seeks to enhance circumpolar cooperation in scientific activities to advance scientific knowledge of the Arctic.

The Agreement will improve the current sharing of scientific data and facilitate the movement of people, samples and equipment across borders for the purpose of conducting research, while encouraging the use of traditional and local knowledge that benefits Northerners. The Agreement is expected to attract international researchers to Canada’s North, including to the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus, which Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) will operate upon its completion in 2017. 


“The Agreement will reinforce Canada’s role as a leader in Arctic science and help attract international researchers to the Canadian Arctic. It will also facilitate Arctic scientific cooperation, which will help us make better decisions for Northerners and all Canadians.”

- The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Through this Agreement, Canada will strengthen its international leadership in ensuring that Arctic research reflects the rich history, traditions, expertise, knowledge and priorities of Northerners and Indigenous peoples. We are taking meaningful steps to make sure research about the North is led by the North.”

- The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

“International collaboration is key to world-leading science. This agreement ensures that the scientists and researchers investigating and tackling the challenges that face the Arctic world today are supported.”

- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister 

Quick Facts

  • This will be the third legally binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council.

  • POLAR has been identified as Canada’s competent national authority for the Agreement. POLAR is on the cutting edge of Arctic issues and strengthens Canada’s position internationally as a leader in polar science and technology.

  •  The CHARS campus will strengthen Canada’s leadership on Arctic issues by establishing a new hub for scientific research in the circumpolar North and provide a platform for visiting scientists to collaborate on science and technology in Canada’s North.

  •  In September 2016, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, signed the joint statement on Arctic collaboration with representatives of 25 nations and the European Union.

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