Last week, the Arctic Council held the second SAO meeting under the Swedish Chairmanship among whales and dinosaur skeletons at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. Nearly 180 delegates gathered in Stockholm to discuss ongoing projects and also to approve or comment on future projects.
A priority of the Swedish Chairmanship, the Arctic Council communication strategy, was provisionally adopted at the meeting and will be forwarded to Deputy Ministers for final approval at their meeting in May 2012.
Another important agenda item was the establishment of the future standing Arctic Council secretariat in Tromsø, Norway. On Thursday March 29, provisional decisions were taken on a number of important issues related to the Secretariat’s establishment, work and mandate.
The Arctic Maritime and Aviation Transportation Infrastructure Initiative (AMATII) and the Circumpolar-Wide Inuit Response to the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, two projects promoted by the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG), were approved by the SAOs.
The Arctic Species Trend Index (ASTI) key findings report received very enthusiastic support during the meeting and it was endorsed. The ASTI is within the framework of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme (CBMP), which is a project of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group.
Furthermore, an impressive number of side-events, lectures and seminars were organized parallel to the meeting in collaboration with the Swedish Museum of Natural History and the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat.
Sweden's chairmanship of the Arctic Council continues until spring of 2013, after which they will hand over the responsibilities to Canada. The Swedish Chairmanship has chosen to prioritize the promotion of sustainable development efforts in the region and strengthen the positive cooperation between States and indigenous peoples in the Arctic. The next SAO Meeting will be held in Haparanda, Sweden 14-15 November 2012.
Presentations related to the meeting in Stockholm can be found on our Stockholm meeting page.
Participant list, sorted according to delegation.
Text: Marc-André Dubois, Linnea Nordström, Hanna Björnfors and Linn Duvhammar
Photo: Linnea Nordström