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Labrador Declaration
The Labrador declaration is an executive summary of the conference outcomes and represents the action-oriented discussion that occurred throughout the conference sessions. This declara-tion outlines some of the conference findings, provides concrete ideas for the development of new initiatives, commits to greater North Atlantic collaboration and identifies new directions for communities, business and government to build small communities.

Delegates from Canada, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands met in L’Anse au Clair, Labrador, representing a diverse and balanced group of community leaders, government officials, politicians and researchers. Following an interactive and meaningful exchange of views, delegates agreed that strong partnerships are vital to achieve the vision of building strong and sustainable coastal communities.

To realize this vision in the rapidly changing international environment, five key areas were identified for action:
 
Collaboration and Communication
Strong partnerships are vital to achieving the goal of building strong sustainable rural commu-nities. Delegates agreed to strengthen partnerships so that our communities can benefit from successes and innovations from around the North Atlantic rim. Conference delegates agreed to:

  • Develop a proposal to NORA for coordination of cooperation and collaboration be-tween North Atlantic groups.
  • Strengthen networking capabilities through development of the Northern Knowledge Network, with SmartLabrador, NORA and other partners to be identified.
  • Establish cooperative and collaborative mechanisms, enabling people in the North Atlantic rim to meet regularly to confer on major issues concerning education and re-search, governance and public policy, tourism and cultural heritage and resource development.
  • Commit to bi-annual conferences of the stakeholders in the North Atlantic rim.
  • Develop inventories of best practices and experts/organization from the North Atlantic rim with expertise in innovation, industry and rural development.
 
Education and Research
Society has become increasingly knowledge-based so that higher learning and research now act as essential components of cultural, socio-economic and environmentally sustainable development of individuals and communities. Conference delegates agreed to:

  • Ensure that rural communities have access to higher education in their community.
  • Develop non-traditional delivery models such as distance learning.
  • Develop an inventory of universities and colleges in the North Atlantic.
  • Cooperate in the development and delivery of programs relating to sustainable eco-nomic, social, environmental and cultural development across the North Atlantic rim.
  • Create a web portal of relevant research and information on lessons and best practices in regional/industry development, growth agreements, cluster development and academy/industry cooperation.
 
Governance and Public Policy
Governance and public policy at the national, regional and local levels plays a critical role in achieving social and economic sustainability of our rural communities. Conference delegates agreed to:

  • Facilitate research into governance and public policy and its impact on rural social and economic development.
  • Facilitate discussion on sustainable rural development among communities, universities, businesses, governments, elected officials and international partners.
  • Create opportunities for elected officials to meet to share lessons and explore com-mon concerns.
  • Promote the development of transportation and communication links to rural communities.
 
Tourism and Cultural Heritage
Travel and cultural tourism play a vital role in building the pride and sense of place of small coastal communities in the North Atlantic. There are unique visitor experiences across the North Atlantic rim countries which can increasingly bring new opportunities for economic development. A number of project initiatives were identified by the delegates to create quality products and new networks and to open the region to new markets. Conference delegates agreed to:

  • Ensure that people in the North Atlantic rim share best practices in the area of edu-cation and training within the tourism sector.
  • Facilitate the development of traditional and new types of tourism products by con-necting various and shared traditions of storytelling and folklore.
  • Share best practices in national park development particularly in the areas of community participation, local business development and sustainable tourism. Share national park strategic plans.
  • Cooperate in the development of a North Atlantic rim cruise initiative in the areas of product development, capacity building, itinerary planning and product promotion.
 
Resource Development
Resource development amongst countries across the North Atlantic rim is a reality that goes back hundreds of years. Continued cooperation is of mutual benefit to the region and of particular benefit to our rural communities. Conference delegates agreed to:

  • Identify potential partners in Labrador for the development of caribou farming, ex-change of knowledge around reindeer and caribou farming, and the development of partnerships to meet the growing demand for reindeer and caribou meat.
  • Share best practices, scientific research and resource development regarding aquaculture.
  • Share best practices in the area of a sustainable fishery, stock management, scientific research, resource development and value added product development.
  • Share best practices in the development of cottage industries, including wild berry production and jam making.
The five key areas of the Labrador Declaration will be acted upon by those partners with mandates and commitment to collaborate in the respective areas of action. Kaspar Lytthans of NORA (http://www.nora.fo) and Sheila Downer of the Northern Knowledge Network will facilitate follow-up on commitments made in the Labrador Declaration. Updates on each of the initiatives will be made to this website.

Attention will be given to involve other relevant partners in the area, in particular to include areas not represented at the conference like Shetland, Orkney, other Scottish Isles and coastal Ireland. The Shetland Islands Council has committed to host a conference in the autumn of 2007, in partnership with the Nordic Council and other partners committed to sustainable coastal communities around the North Atlantic Rim. Progress in advancing the activities set out in this Labrador Declaration will be reviewed at the Shetland Islands conference.
 

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