News Archive


Singapore/Copenhagen: The Arctic Council Permanent Participants have been invited to take part in a human resource development program sponsored by the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP). The program consists of short-term courses, a post-graduate scholarship for a Masters in Maritime Law, and customised study visits to Singapore.

 “I have had the honour of welcoming leaders and representatives of organisations representing the Arctic indigenous communities to Singapore on two study visits. These visits were platforms for meaningful exchanges on topics such as sustainable development and strategies on environmental protection. To support more meaningful interactions between Singapore and the indigenous communities, we have launched the “Singapore-Arctic Council Permanent Participants Cooperation Package” for Arctic indigenous peoples to visit Singapore for scholarships and study visits,” said Singapore’s Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Sam Tan Chin Siong, during his speech at the 9th Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø, Norway on 19 January 2015.

The human resource development program is a part of Singapore’s continued effort to engage Arctic indigenous communities. The human resource development program consists of three parts:

  • Fully sponsored places in Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP) of interest to the Permanent Participants.

Information on the programmes, eligibility criteria and application form can be found on the SCP's website at All application forms are to be endorsed and submitted through the respective Permanent Participant, or through the Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat.

  • Post-graduate scholarship for Masters of Law (Maritime Law) at the National University of Singapore.

The SCP offers one full post-graduate scholarship a year for Arctic indigenous peoples to attend a one-year Masters of Law (Maritime Law) at the National University of Singapore. This is a one-year full time course for law graduates to obtain specialised knowledge in legal matters relating to commercial shipping, marine insurance, shipping regulation, and ocean policy.

The scholarship is subject to the candidate gaining admission to the Masters programme. More information on the Masters of Law in Maritime Law is available at NUS’s website

Interested parties should email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   and copy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it on the application procedure.  

  • Three customised study visits to Singapore per year for up to six representatives from the Permanent Participants.

The study visits can be customised according to the needs and interests of each delegation. The SCP will provide a hospitality package for the above scholarships, study visits, and SCP programmes conducted in Singapore covering round-trip economy airfares, training fees, accommodation, insurance coverage, liaison officer and local transport in Singapore.


Singapore’s contact point for this cooperation package is Ms Nicole Tan ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) from the Technical Cooperation Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore.

You can also contact the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples´ Secretariat for more information.



Ottawa, Canada – 10 February 2015 – Athabaksan, Inuit, Saami, Aleut, Gwich’in, along with indigenous representatives from Russia are meeting in Ottawa this week as part of a major Arctic Council effort to promote the vitality of the Arctic’s indigenous languages. They are joined by linguists, policy specialists, and other indigenous languages experts.


Hosted by the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) and five other indigenous peoples organizations with Permanent Participant status at the Arctic Council, the three-day Arctic Indigenous Languages Assessment Symposium is providing a key platform for both the indigenous groups and researchers to review pan-Arctic assessments of indigenous languages, and to share experiences and tools in promoting the vitality of indigenous languages spoken across the Arctic


“Our languages reflect who we are – our culture, our heritage and our future,” said J. Okalik Eegesiak, ICC’s chair in her opening comments. “They are the legacy we hand down to our children, and they to their children.”


Gunn Britt Retter of the Saami Council said “this symposium will be a basis from which we hope a better assessment of our Saami languages in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia will be undertaken, which in turn will help focus our resources on enhancing their vitality”.

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, stated in the Symposium’s Opening Address that: “During Canada’s two-year term as Arctic Council Chair, we have put the well-being and prosperity of Northerners first with a focus on Development for the People of the North. The Arctic Council’s indigenous languages project supports our efforts to empower Northern communities.”


The symposium also has a strong youth presence. Youth representatives from across the Arctic met this morning, and will be addressing the plenary later today.

Recommendations coming out of the symposium will help shape the way forward for this initiative which is expected to have continued Arctic Council support, after USA Secretary of State, John Kerry, takes over its chairmanship.

For additional information and registration details, see


Media enquiries, please contact:


Carole Simon, ICC Canada:

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Saami Council:

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Aleut International Association:

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Gwich’in Council International:

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Arctic Athabaskan Council:

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Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North:

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On the 2nd and 3rd February 2015, FAO organized a high level meeting between more than twenty indigenous representatives and experts and FAO experts. The meeting entitled “Indigenous Food Systems, Agroecology and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security” was the first time after 5 years, when the FAO policy on Indigenous peoples was approved, in which a representative caucus of indigenous peoples meet in FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy.

The High level event was opened by Maria Helena Semedo, the FAO Deputy Director-General and Coordinator for Natural Resources. The Director General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva, highlighted the key role of indigenous peoples in the struggle for food security and sustainable development and reaffirmed FAO’s institutional support. "The debate on preparedness and disaster resilience to climate change can also benefit from indigenous techniques", said Graziano noting that traditionally communities have elaborate systems able to cope with extreme weather conditions.

"Indigenous peoples are great carriers of wisdom and knowledge accumulated over millennia," said Jose Graziano da Silva. He highlighted the "extraordinary meaning" land for indigenous peoples and made an appeal to the dissemination of these guidelines in their various languages to make progress in its implementation. "The role of guidelines at the national level is vital to ensure indigenous peoples ancestral rights in land tenure" he said.

During his closing remarks the FAO's Director General also highlighted 5 priority areas of work between Indigenous Peoples and FAO (the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure of Land, Natural Resources, Forestry and Fisheries; the participation of indigenous peoples in the debate of the International year of soils; a dialogue and exchange of knowledge that reinforces the role in policy debate of indigenous knowledge; the Global Heritage Agriculture Heritage Systems; indigenous knowledge in the face of climate change). Da Silva has also requested the participation of indigenous peoples in the activities of the International Year of Soils commemorate the United Nations in 2015 to promote awareness of a precious natural resource that must be used and preserved sustainably.

The meeting was attended by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the Special Ambassador for the International Year of Family Farming, Myrna Cunningham, members of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Alvaro Pop, Devasish Roy and Joan Carling, together with indigenous peoples’ representatives and experts from six  of the seven regions identified by UNPFII.


IFAD, Bioversity, the Land Portal, SlowFood and different scholars participated in the working groups together with FAO officers from Forestry, Fisheries, Markets, Seeds, Partnerships, Natural resources, and technical cooperation.

As a result of this meeting, the participants agreed on a series of actions to take for safeguarding indigenous peoples rights and to establish collaborative linkages between indigenous peoples and the Organization.

Among some of these actions, it was agreed for example, the creation of the indigenous food systems and agroecology team in FAO. This multidisciplinary team composed of indigenous experts and FAO will work on different aspects related to indigenous food systems, nutrition, marketing and seeds.

Also, on the side of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) and The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication, indigenous leaders reaffirmed their commitment in working on their implementation, identifying two areas (Africa and the Pacific),  where joint work could begin.

About the seminar

Since 2010, when the Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the FAO was passed, this is the first time that representatives of the seven regions identified by the Permanent Forum of Nations Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), for its acronym in English) meet at the headquarters of the agency. The high-level seminar organized by FAO was organized at the request made in 2014 by the world's indigenous leaders during the sessions of the United Nations Forum on Indigenous Issues.

For more info:

To download Guidelines

To see pictures


Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:08

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of IPS


Over 70 specially invited representatives from across the Arctic celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat (IPS), which took place on 27 November 2014 at Nordatlantens Brygge in Copenhagen. 

This important milestone was commemorated with a workshop as well as a celebratory dinner and evening programme. The anniversary celebration focussed on the theme, Building on Indigenous Achievements in the Arctic Council. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 10:20

IPS 20th Celebration


The Indigenous Peoples Secretariat is twenty years old! Former IPS board members, staff, indigenous peoples organizations, and friends of IPS are celebrating this important milestone through a workshop with the theme, Building on Indigenous Achievements in the Arctic Council, as well as a celebratory dinner.

See the programme here

Elle Merete Omma has been elected as the next Executive Secretary for the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS). Ms. Omma will assume her full time duties at the IPS on September 1, 2014.

Elle Merete Omma is Sámi and was raised in a reindeer herding family in Norway and Sweden. She studied International Communication at UNITEC in New Zealand and holds a Bachelor of Political Science from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology as well as a Master of Laws from the University of Oslo. She is currently working as a Senior Adviser in the Department of Sami and Minority Affairs in the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernization. She has also had a secondment position at the Permanent Mission of Norway in Geneva during Norway´s membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council. In addition Elle Merete Omma has also done volunteer work with various Sámi NGOs.

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Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat
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