Icebergs in Jakobshavn, Disko Bay, Greenland

Ilulissat, formerly Jakobshavn or Jacobshaven, is a town in the Qaasuitsup municipality in western Greenland, located approximately 200 km (120 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. With the population of 4,541 as of 2013, it is the third-largest settlement in Greenland, after Nuuk and Sisimiut.

In direct translation, Ilulissat is the Kalaallisut word “Icebergs”.The nearby Ilulissat Icefjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site,and has made Ilulissat the most popular tourist destination in Greenland.Tourism is now the town’s principal industry.

The town was established as a trading post by Jacob Severin’s company in 1741 and was named in his honor.

The Zion Church (Zions Kirke) was built in the late 18th century, and was the largest man-made structure in Greenland at the time.The final resident of nearby Sermermiut moved to Ilulissat in 1850.

The town was the site of the Arctic Ocean Conference in May 2008.The joint meeting between Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States was held to discuss key issues relating to territorial claims in the Arctic (particularly Hans Island and Arktika 2007) and Arctic shrinkage produced by climate change.

The Ilulissat Declaration arose from the conference. It stated that the law of the sea provided for important rights and obligations concerning the delineation of the outer limits of the continental shelf, the protection of the marine environment, including ice-covered areas, freedom of navigation, marine scientific research, and other uses of the sea. It also said that it remained committed to this legal framework and to the orderly settlement of any possible overlapping claims.

With this existing legal framework, providing a solid foundation for responsible management, there was no need to develop a new comprehensive international legal regime to govern the Arctic Ocean. The states involved, would keep abreast of the developments in the Arctic Ocean and continue to implement appropriate measures.

Icebergs in Jakobshavn, Disko Bay, Greenland

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