The Nuuk declaration and an agreement to cooperate in Search and Rescue efforts in the Arctic were signed. The Search and Rescue (SAR) agreement will strengthen cooperation between the Arctic states and improve the way Arctic countries respond to emergency calls in the region.

On behalf of Denmark, Lene Espersen expressed deep satisfaction with the results of the meeting. The  SAR agreement is ground-breaking in the annals of the Arctic Council, as it is the first legally-binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Council.

Sweden's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, incoming chair of the Arctic Council, said that Arctic countries need enhanced cooperation on many future challenges, not the least being prevention, preparedness and response to oils spills. He said that during their chairmanship, Sweden will press forward with this on the agenda.

Major studies on environment released today show that climate change is having a more profound impact on the Arctic environment than previously understood. One of the Arctic Council Working Group studies shows that black carbon (soot), ground-level ozone, and methane may account for up to 40 percent of global warming in the Arctic.

A linked list of documents released during this  ministerial is available for your perusal. This list will  be updated during the days following this meeting on an as-needed basis. See also the Arctic Council Working Groups' own websites for more information.

The Ministers also decided to strengthen the Arctic Council by establishing a secretariat to increase the ability of the Council to address future challenges in the region. The secretariat will be located in Tromsø, Norway.

Please click here to view the original press release.