The goal of the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) is to propose and adopt steps to be taken by the Arctic States to advance sustainable development in the Arctic, including opportunities to protect and enhance the environment and the economies, culture and health of Indigenous Peoples and Arctic communities, as well as to improve the environmental, economic and social conditions of Arctic communities as a whole.

The thematic areas for SDWG projects and activities include:

Arctic Human Health:
To broaden the scope and strengthen the integration of human health activities within the Council by developing concrete initiatives to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples and other Arctic residents.

Arctic Socio-Economic Issues:
To advance on a better understanding of the human influences on the Arctic environment and the socio-economic conditions of Indigenous Peoples and Arctic communities.

Adaptation to Climate Change:
To strengthen the work of the Council by reducing vulnerability and implementing adaptation initiatives related to climate change in the Arctic, including practical community-based actions.

Energy and Arctic Communities: 
To consider future projects and activities in relation to the Arctic region as energy consumer, and the importance of environmentally  friendly economic activity in the energy sector to ongoing social and economic development in the Arctic region.

Management of Natural Resources:
To consider that Indigenous Peoples and Arctic communities rely on the sustainable use of natural resources for their health and economic well-being; increases in shipping, petroleum activities, fishing, mining as well as external influences such as climate change and variability, require that the management of resources is based on a holistic perspective.

Arctic Cultures and Languages: 
To support Arctic cultures; to reduce the loss of Arctic Indigenous languages and to follow-up on the Arctic Indigenous Languages Symposium. 

Strategic Planning: 
To develop a more integrated and inclusive approach to managing and planning SDWG priority-based activities undertaken in collaboration with other Arctic Council Working Groups, Permanent Participants, Arctic community stakeholders and external partners.

Photo: Some Permanent Participant delegates at the Nuuk Ministerial Meeting May 2011. Photo by Harald Finkler, used with permission | Original photo