Establishment of the Arctic Council

In 1996, the Ottawa Declaration formally established the Arctic Council as a high-level intergovernmental forum to provide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues; in particular, issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

Arctic Council Member States are Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States of America.

In addition to the Member States, the Arctic Council has the category of indigenous Permanent Participants.

Arctic Council Chairmanship

The Chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotates every two years between the eight Arctic States.

  • Canada I: Inauguration of Arctic Council - 1998 (Ministerial Meeting held in Iqaluit, Canada 1998)
  • United States of America I: 1998 - 2000 (Ministerial Meeting held in Barrow, Alaska 2000)
  • Finland I: 2000-2002 (Ministerial Meeting held in Inari, Finland 2002)
  • Iceland I: 2002-2004 (Ministerial Meeting held in Reykjavik, Iceland 2004)
  • Russian Federation I: 2004-2006 (Ministerial Meeting held in Salekhard, Russian Federation, 2006)
  • Norway I: 2006-March 2009 (Ministerial Meeting held in Tromsø, Norway 2009)
  • Kingdom of Denmark I: 2009-2011 (Ministerial Meeting held in Nuuk, Greenland 2011)
  • Sweden I: 2011-2013 (Ministerial Meeting held in Kiruna, Sweden 2013)
  • Canada II: 2013-2015 (Ministerial Meeting held in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada 2015)
  • United States of America II: 2015-2017
  • Finland II: 2017-2019

All Declarations


Forerunner to the Arctic Council

Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy

In September 1989, on the initiative of the government of Finland, officials from the eight Arctic countries met in Rovaniemi, Finland to discuss cooperative measures to protect the Arctic environment. They agreed to work towards a meeting of circumpolar Ministers responsible for Arctic environmental issues. The September 1989 meeting was followed by preparatory meetings in Yellowknife, Canada in April 1990; Kiruna, Sweden in January 1991; and, Rovaniemi, Finland in June 1991.

In addition to the numerous technical and scientific reports prepared under this initiative, the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) was developed. The AEPS represented the culmination of the cooperative efforts of the eight Arctic States: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the United States of America.

The eight Arctic States were assisted in the preparation of the AEPS by the following observers: the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the Nordic Saami Council, the USSR Association of Small Peoples of the North, the Federal Republic of Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the United Nations Environment Program, and the International Arctic Science Committee.