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Québec and Iceland bolster cooperation on sustainable development

Québec City, February 24, 2015 – Québec Premier Philippe Couillard and President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson met during the International Symposium on Northern Development and agreed to broaden cooperation between Québec and Iceland, in particular from the standpoint of northern and Arctic questions and in the realms of combating climate change and renewable energies.  

“Québec and Iceland, like all of the Nordic countries, are facing similar challenges linked, in particular, to their geographic location. The sharing of knowledge by our leading researchers can only accelerate access to knowledge and innovations that will enable both societies to progress. Closer ties between our government organizations, educational institutions, research institutes and innovative businesses will put as at the forefront of avant-garde societies with respect to sustainable northern development,” Premier Couillard noted.

“The growing cooperation between Québec and Iceland marks a new stage in the promotion of the Arctic’s interests. As is the case with our relations with Alaska, our ties with Québec show that renewed dialogue centred on constructive innovation to complement traditional diplomatic channels is playing an essential role in the sustainable development of the Arctic. The Northern Plan is also a model for development that offers inspiration to other northern regions. My discussions with Premier Couillard, both at the meeting of the Arctic Circle last year and during this visit to Québec, have enabled me to appreciate Québec’s commitment to the promotion of new forms of cooperation,” President Grímsson added.

“Québec’s sustained efforts to combat climate change are earning us growing international recognition. It is by broadening the field to nations that wish to contemplate the future responsibly that we will succeed in taking advantage of the North’s resources while preserving the biodiversity of this fragile ecosystem,” Premier Couillard said.

During their meeting, Premier Couillard and President Grímsson confirmed their determination to broaden cooperation ties by officially adding Québec to the strategic committee of the Arctic Circle so that it can collaborate more closely in the organization of this major cooperation forum in the Arctic. Moreover, they are also undertaking to participate actively in future gatherings of the Arctic Circle and the International Symposium on Northern Development. “This commitment between Québec and Iceland, especially in the context of events organized by the Arctic Circle and the International Symposium on Northern Development, reveals a genuine determination to jointly cope with the challenges that sustainable northern development is posing. I am indeed excited about laying the foundations for some degree of reciprocity at such events,” the Premier concluded.

The International Symposium on Northern Development

The International Symposium on Northern Development, co-chaired by the Québec government in collaboration with Université Laval and the Nordic Council of Ministers, will indicate concrete avenues for collaboration whose outcomes can only benefit the Northern Plan and the maritime strategy, two major development projects in Québec. Several representatives of the political, Aboriginal, scientific and economic sectors of the Nordic countries and Québec are expected at the event. More than 70 speakers, nearly half of them from abroad, will engage in discussions and share their knowledge of the Nord and the challenges that its preservation and development are posing.

The Arctic Circle

The Arctic Circle is an international forum that seeks to facilitate exchanges and foster collaboration on challenges related to the Arctic, in particular as regards climate change. The event assembles political representatives and the representatives of big businesses, organizations and associations, as well as internationally renowned researchers and scientists. The first Arctic Circle conference was held in 2013 in Reykjavik and assembled more than 1200 participants from 40 countries.

The Nordic Council of Ministers

The Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) was established in 1971 to ensure intergovernmental cooperation between the Nordic countries to enable them to elaborate joint solutions to their specific problems. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are the founding members of the organization.


Online as of: July 16, 2015

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