Icleandic PM meets with U.S. Secretary of State ahead of Arctic Council Meeting

Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir (R) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold a meeting at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 18, 2021. (Saul Loeb/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir met with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Tuesday for a bilateral meeting ahead of the Arctic Council ministerial on May 20. 

The meeting was dominated by environmental issues, the Icelandic government said in a statement.

“[Jakobsdottir and Blinken] discussed the pandemic and the importance of the recovery from it being green and sustainable,” the news release said.

“[Jakobsdottir] expressed her satisfaction with the United States’ re-accession to the Paris Agreement and reiterated the importance of international cooperation in the field of climate change.”

Arctic affairs also discussed

In addition, Arctic affairs were also high on the agenda.

“Secretary Blinken and Prime Minister Jakobsdottir discussed the global community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the need for greater climate action, promoting women’s rights and equality, and Arctic security,” U.S. Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said on Tuesday.

The Arctic Council is an international forum made up of the world’s eight circumpolar nations: Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the United States; and six Arctic Indigenous groups: the Aleut International Association, the Arctic Athabaskan Council, the Gwich’in Council International, the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North and the Saami Council.

The forum works on environmental protection and sustainable development in the North.

The foreign ministers of all eight Arctic countries are gathering in Reykjavik this week for the ministerial, the biennel meeting where the rotating two-year chairmanship is handed over.

This year, current chair Iceland will hand over leadership to Russia.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: From strategic plan to deliverables, Iceland gears up for Arctic Council ministerial, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finnish PM stresses importance of Arctic Council for region’s stability amidst climate change, Yle News

Iceland: Arctic Council’s work on track despite pandemic, now gearing up for 2021 ministerial, says ambassador & SAO, Eye on the Arctic

India: Pole to Pole: India’s Arctic White Paper, Blog by Marc Lanteigne

Norway: Norway’s FM confirms participation in upcoming Arctic Council ministerial, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Russian, U.S. foreign ministers to meet on sidelines of Arctic Council meeting, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying an culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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