Thematic Work

News Articles

  • A source for Arctic optimism: The Blue Bioeconomy

    Editorial by Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials


    The blue bioeconomy is and will be a major contributor to achieving sustainable development in the Arctic and beyond. The term “blue bioeconomy” refers to innovation potentials in utilizing and creating new marine products with the help of new unconventional processing methods. It is therefore also one of today’s main sources for great optimism for our region, especially given the Arctic Council’s specific focus on sustainable development and environmental protection.

  • Put into reality: EPPR looks into the VIKING SKY incident

    At its first Working Group meeting during the Icelandic Chairmanship, the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group held a workshop on the VIKING SKY incident – a cruise liner that got into distress off the Southern Norwegian coast. Authorities involved in the rescue operation in March 2019 shared their experiences and lessons learned with EPPR delegates. Quickly the questions arose: How would this incident have played out in the high Arctic?

  • Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative: a global partnership for Arctic-breeding migratory birds

    At the most recent Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting (Rovaniemi, 6-7 May 2019), the Ministers of the Arctic States approved the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna’s (CAFF) Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI) Work Plan 2019-2023. This ambitious plan provides the strategic framework and guidance for cooperation to conserve populations of Arctic breeding migratory birds experiencing alarming population decline.

  • Wildfires don’t respect territorial boundary lines

    The Arctic is experiencing its worst wildfire season on record, affecting the environment and communities in the circumpolar North and beyond. Amongst the most affected are people in the Gwich’in territories in Alaska. They face a future of intensified wildfire seasons – and call upon the Arctic States to collaborate on both mitigation and emergency response measures. Edward Alexander is a member of the Gwich’in Council International (GCI), and in this interview he speaks about the impacts of wildfires and the projects GCI has submitted to Arctic Council Working Groups.

  • Interview with Magnús Jóhannesson, the Special Coordinator on Plastics

    Magnús Jóhannesson is the Council’s designated special coordinator on plastics, marine litter. In this interview, the former Director of the Arctic Council Secretariat speaks about the plastics issue in the Arctic, the Arctic Council’s efforts to tackle the issue and his new role within the Icelandic Chairmanship team.

  • New Observer: The International Maritime Organization

    The International Maritime Organization (IMO) was granted Arctic Council Observer status at the 11th Ministerial meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland, in May 2019. IMO is the United Nations specialized agency responsible for safety and security of shipping and prevention of marine pollution by ships. Its Observer status, the organization states, “will allow IMO to build on the existing cooperation with the Arctic Council and to engage in close collaboration on a range of issues related to shipping in the Arctic”.

  • Interview with CAFF Chair Mark Marissink

    Since May 2019, Mark Marissink chairs the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group (CAFF). He is the deputy director at the department for Environmental Analysis at the Swedish Environment Protection Agency and has been involved in the work of CAFF for several years. Learn more about Mark Marissink’s background and his ambitions as the Working Group’s new Chair.

  • Interview with SDWG Chair Stefán Skjaldarson

    Stefán Skjaldarson is the new Chair of the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). Growing up in one of the most remote parts of northeast Iceland, he got to know the scarcities of an Arctic childhood until education and eventually his work in the Foreign Service of Iceland drew him out into the world. Chairing SDWG is a return to the Arctic Council for Stefán Skjaldarson. He was involved in the Rovaniemi Process – a forerunner of today’s Council – and took part in the preparatory meetings for establishing the Arctic Council. In this brief interview, he speaks about experiences and inspiration guiding his work for SDWG over the coming years.

  • First meeting during Iceland's Arctic Council Chairmanship

    On 18-19 June 2019, Arctic Council delegates gathered in Reykjanesbær, Iceland, for the first Senior Arctic Officials’ executive meeting during the Chairmanship of Iceland (2019-2021). Amongst other things, the Senior Arctic Officials, joined by the Permanent Participants and representatives of the Council’s Working Groups, discussed initiatives falling under Iceland’s priority themes.

  • Towards an international symposium on plastics in the Arctic

    In April 2020, the Icelandic government and the Nordic Council of Ministers will host an International Symposium on the Threat of Plastics to the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Marine Environment. The aim of the symposium is to gather the best available knowledge on plastics in the Arctic and to find solutions for tackling the issue. Registration is already possible and the call for abstracts will open on 1 July 2019.

  • Interview with ACAP Chair Inger Johanne Wiese

    Inger Johanne Wiese is the new Chair of the Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP). She works as senior advisor at the Ministry of Climate and Environment Norway in the Department for National Marine Affairs and Pollution Control. In this brief interview, she talks about her background, ACAP’s mandate and projects we should keep an eye on over the next two years.

  • Interview with EPPR Chair Peter Holst-Andersen

    Peter Holst-Andersen is the Chair of the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group. He is the only Working Group Chair remaining in his position after Iceland has assumed the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. We revisited some statements he made as he first became EPPR Chair (read his first interview) and asked him for his ambitions and personal favorites.

  • Interview with AMAP Chair Anders Turesson

    Anders Turesson is the new Chair of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). He works at the Swedish Ministry of Environment. While chairing the Arctic Council Working Group, he will also continue to work on climate change related issue back in Stockholm. Get to know Anders and learn more about his interests in and ambitions for AMAP.

  • Arctic Council Ministers meet, pass Chairmanship from Finland to Iceland, Arctic States conclude Arctic Council Ministerial meeting by signing a joint statement

    At the 11th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland, Ministers of the eight Arctic States, leaders from the six indigenous Permanent Participant organizations and the Chairs of the six Working Groups of the Arctic Council met to mark the passing of the Chairmanship from Finland to Iceland. In the Rovaniemi Joint Ministerial Statement, the Arctic States reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to maintain the Arctic as a region of peace, stability and constructive cooperation. Additionally, Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini released a Chair’s statement, summarizing the Council’s achievements and giving guidance for the next two years. The International Maritime Organization was accredited as a new Observer.

  • The Rovaniemi Joint Ministerial Statement

    Read the Rovaniemi Joint Ministerial Statement signed by all eight Foreign Ministers at the 11th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland

  • The Chair's Statement from the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Rovaniemi

    Read the Chair's statement from 11th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland, presented by Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini. 

  • Watch the Ministerial meeting live

    On May 7 2019 from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm (GMT+3) Finland will host the 11th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland.

    Ministers from the eight Arctic States will convene to review and approve work completed under the two-year Finnish Chairmanship to improve sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. The Arctic States will be joined by delegations from the Council's indigenous Permanent Participant organizations, the Chairs of the six Working Groups, and Observers. The Ministerial is held in the Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi, Finland.

    To watch the event live, click here.

  • The Arctic Council signs Memorandum of Understanding with Arctic Economic Council

    The Arctic Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Arctic Economic Council in Rovaniemi, Finland, today. The aim of the MoU is to provide a framework for cooperation and to facilitate collaboration between the Arctic Council and the Arctic Economic Council. The MoU was signed by Nina Buvang Vaaja, Director of the Arctic Council Secretariat, and Anu Fredrikson, Director of the Arctic Economic Council Secretariat.

  • The common solutions explored

    A preview on the 11th Arctic Council Ministerial meeting and its deliverables

  • Arctic Council accepts IAIA Global Award

    The Arctic Council is the recipient of the 2019 Global Award of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA). Today, representatives of the Finnish Ministry of Environment accepted the prize on behalf of the Finnish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council at IAIA’s  39th Annual Conference in Brisbane, Australia.