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IALA contributes to new Arctic Forum

Secretary-General Francis Zachariae has been invited to make a presentation on IALA’s work related to safe and environmentally sound Arctic Shipping at a high-level meeting in London on 5 and 6 June 2017. The meeting will be the first of the newly established Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum, an initiative of the Arctic Council’s PAME working group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment.

IALA’s contribution to the Forum will be particularly relevant with regard to technical and operational issues such as the marking of polar shipping routes, the provision of virtual aids to navigation, vessel tracking, and the establishment of ship reporting systems.

The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum aims to bring together and stimulate interaction between maritime stakeholders and practitioners with relevant expertise to benefit the development of a common approach to risk control measures, best practices and harmonized standards. A dedicated portal will also be established for the provision and exchange of information.

Later this year, an IALA Seminar on Arctic Navigation will take place in Paris, on 9 and 10 November, to assist in the important work of the Forum. Relevant stakeholders will be invited to participate, including international partner organisations such as the International Hydrographic Organization and the Arctic Council’s Secretariat.

Background

IALA has been engaged for a number of years with the challenges of safe navigation in Arctic waters, seeking to increase risk awareness, encourage data sharing and promote harmonization of standards. All eight member governments of the Arctic Council and all governments enjoying permanent observer status with the Arctic Council are members of IALA (through their respective national authorities responsible for the provision and maintenance of maritime aids to navigation). More recently, IALA has formally applied for permanent observer status with the Arctic Council.

The Arctic Council was established as a high-level, intergovernmental forum more than 20 years ago (Ottawa Declaration of 19 September 1996). Its principal aim is to enhance cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, with the active involvement of Arctic indigenous peoples and other Arctic inhabitants, on common Arctic issues.