Reykjavik, Iceland

12 October 2013

Secretary-General's video message for the inaugural Assembly of the Arctic Circle

President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Your Excellencies, Dear guests of the first assembly of the Arctic Circle.

I am pleased to send greetings to this first Assembly of the Arctic Circle.
When I visited the Arctic four years ago, I was moved by its majesty. But I was also worried about its fragility. I strengthened my resolve to tackle climate change.
This problem is the single greatest long-term threat to our survival.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just predicted the Arctic sea ice cover will shrink and thin even more.
We have to respond. The Arctic is a bellweather. The risks there should warn our whole world.
We must reconcile short-term interests with our long-term goal of sustainable development.
New sea routes should mean constructive cooperation among States.
Indigenous people, women, youth and future generations have high stakes in the area’s natural resources. We must use them sustainably.
I am heartened that the Arctic Circle will address the climate challenge. I welcome your plans to facilitate dialogue and build relationships. These are essential to responding to changes – today and tomorrow.
I hope this Assembly is remembered for advancing collective wisdom, inclusive growth and equity.
Your work is at the top of the world. I count on you to reach great heights.
Thank you.