Arctic Council logo

Arctic Council prepares for Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks

10 March 2017
Senior officials from the Arctic Council’s eight Member States and six indigenous Permanent Participant organizations (PPs) met in Juneau in preparation for the upcoming Fairbanks Ministerial meeting, which will take place in May 2017.

Juneau, Alaska, U.S.A.
Senior officials from the Arctic Council’s eight Member States and six indigenous Permanent Participant organizations (PPs) met in Juneau in preparation for the upcoming Fairbanks Ministerial meeting, which will take place on 11 May 2017.

"At this week's meeting we reviewed the impressive body of work completed by the Working Groups and Task Forces over the past two years. These initiatives underlined the significant and growing role the Arctic Council plays in the sustainable development and environmental protection of the Arctic, and its work to improve the lives of those in Arctic communities. The meeting also leaves us poised for a successful Ministerial meeting in May, when the Chairmanship of the Council will transfer from the United States to Finland," said Ambassador David Balton, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials.

At this meeting, the Senior Arctic Officials approved and welcomed a wide array of projects and reports of the Council’s Working Groups and Task Forces in preparation for the upcoming Ministerial meeting, including:

  • The “State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report,” a comprehensive report on the status and trends of marine biodiversity and monitoring in Arctic marine areas,
  • The “Arctic Protected Areas Indicator Report,” an inventory of terrestrial and marine protected areas that summarizes the status and trends towards achieving global protected area targets,
  • The “Arctic Regional Reception Facilities Plan,” a proposed waste management plan for ship-generated wastes intended to help the Arctic States meet their obligations under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and standards linked to the new Polar Code,
  • Survey results and policy recommendations on the OneHealth approach,
  • A searchable database of equipment assets available for response to emergencies in the Arctic,
  • An update of the report “Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic,” and
  • A project to reduce emissions of black carbon from a diesel-fueled, off-grid power source at a reindeer farm in the Russian Arctic.

Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, also attended the meeting, providing an update on the IMO’s Polar Code. The Arctic Council Observers also delivered brief remarks during the meeting.

At the meeting, Finland unveiled the program for its 2017-2019 Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, which focuses on addressing the effects of climate change and fostering sustainable development. The proposed priorities include environmental protection, meteorological cooperation, connectivity, and education in the Arctic.

Background facts

The Arctic Council focuses on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

The Council holds Senior Arctic Officials’ meetings roughly every six months, and Ministerial meetings roughly every two years. The next Ministerial meeting will take place in Fairbanks, Alaska on 11 May 2017.

The United States Chairmanship began in 2015, and will run through the Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks on 11 May 2017, at which point Finland will assume the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

During the United States Chairmanship, Senior Arctic Officials’ meetings have been held in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Portland (Maine), and Juneau.

The eight Arctic States are Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States.

The six indigenous peoples’ Permanent Participant organizations are the Aleut International Association, the Arctic Athabaskan Council, the Gwich’In Council International, the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the Saami Council, and the Russian Association of Indigenous People of the North.

The six Working Groups of the Arctic Council are:
- ACAP (Arctic Contaminants Action Program)
- AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme)
- CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna)
- EPPR (Emergency Prevention, Preparedness, and Response)
- PAME (Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment)
- SDWG (Sustainable Development Working Group)

The Arctic Council’s three current Task Forces are:
- Task Force on Arctic Marine Cooperation
- Task Force on Enhancing Scientific Cooperation in the Arctic
- Task Force on Telecommunications Infrastructure in the Arctic