A cool Arctic sun shone down on the Katuaq Cultural Centre in Greenland’s capital as talks between the countries of the Arctic Council got under way on Monday. 

Representatives of eight countries and of the region’s indigenous peoples have arrived in Nuuk to prepare the ground for the foreign ministers meeting on Thursday. The momentous changes in the climate and a sea rescue agreement are two of the topics that will be in focus.

“The most important thing right now is to sort out a number of technicalities ahead of the foreign ministers meeting, so that the ministers can focus on the matters of substance,” commented Swedish Arctic Ambassador Gustaf Lind on his way into the meeting.

Discussions will revolve around the secretariat that is to be established to strengthen Arctic cooperation. In the days up to the ministerial meeting, the representatives will also look at a number of recent reports by the various working groups of the Arctic Council on, for example, the climate change situation. The Arctic is particularly vulnerable to climate change – temperatures have risen twice as fast there compared with the rest of the world.

The five Nordic countries plus the US, Russia and Canada are cooperating in the Arctic Council. Sweden takes over the two-year chairmanship from the Kingdom of Denmark when the foreign ministers meeting ends on Thursday.

Picture: Andreas von Uexküll (center) and Paola Albornoz from the Swedish delegation discuss with Finland's Arctic Ambassador Hannu Halinen. Photo: Joakim Larsson