Sweden and the Arctic region

Sweden is an Arctic country with interests in the region and has an important role to play in both multilateral and bilateral discussions. In 2011 Sweden adopted a  strategy on the Arctic region based on the process of far-reaching change in the Arctic region. Climate change is creating new challenges, but also new opportunities. Sweden promotes economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development throughout the Arctic region. Sweden also works to ensure that the Arctic remains a region where security policy tensions are low, and for these objectives sees a need of a strengthened Arctic Council.

Sweden was chair of the Arctic Council 2011 to 2013.

Indigenous peoples

There are around 70.000 Sami, and around 20.000 of them live in Sweden. In the Arctic region Sweden strives to ensure that indigenous peoples have greater scope for preserving and developing their identity, culture and traditional industries and facilitate their traditional knowledge gathering and transfer. Active participation in decisions affecting them is required if indigenous peoples are to be able to meet future challenges. Sweden highlights the human dimension and the gender perspective in the Arctic Council.

Climate and environmental research

Swedish climate-related research in the Arctic has a long tradition and its findings are constantly helping to increase understanding of ongoing processes. As a result of long measurement series, in some cases up to one hundred years, Sweden has contributed to greater global understanding of climate change. It is important to continuously analyse levels of both known and new hazardous substances in the sensitive Arctic area. Adaptation to a changed climate requires good knowledge about the effects not only on biological and technical systems but also on communities and humans.

Access to modern logistics platforms is crucial for environmental research. Northern Sweden is home to research stations in Abisko and Tarfala as well as the EISCAT12 scatter radar facility in Kiruna. The Abisko Scientific Research Station administrates, coordinates and performs experiments and tests for researchers from all over the world. An extensive environmental monitoring programme on temperature, precipitation, ice-thaw, flora and fauna in the local area has been in progress here for nearly 100 years. The Tarfala Research Station, located in the Kebnekaise mountains, conducts basic research, glacier monitoring, meteorological and hydrological analyses, snow chemistry and permafrost studies.

The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat gives Sweden plenty of scope to perform marine research expeditions in both the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans with the ice-breaker Oden.


Efficient ice-breaking operations are required to promote maritime safety and improve accessibility in frozen waters. Sweden possesses leading expertise as regards shipping in Arctic conditions. Swedish ice-breakers are able to support increasing commercial shipping in the Arctic as well as help with both the monitoring of the vulnerable marine environment and Arctic research. The Swedish Maritime Administration’s ice-breaking resources are well suited to Arctic and sub-Arctic waters at times when the vessels are not needed in regular


Government/parliament website
Indigenous/Aboriginal website/policy webpage
Environmental agencies
Polar research institutions
Tourism website (general country info)



Senior Arctic Official

Louise Calais