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Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials Gather in Fairbanks, Alaska

1 March 2016
The Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs) and indigenous Permanent Participant organizations will meet in Fairbanks, Alaska on 16-17 March 2016 to discuss the Council’s projects, structure and functioning, as well as its future work.

Arctic Council SAOs and Permanent Participants meet twice yearly to receive progress reports on the Council’s work, approve publications and other products for public release, and plan the near-term and long-term direction of the Council. They last met in Anchorage, Alaska in October of 2015, where they discussed subjects including black carbon and methane, adaptation to a changing Arctic, biodiversity, traditional and local knowledge, Arctic marine cooperation and mental wellness in Arctic communities. They also discussed the Arctic Council’s presence at the COP21 climate conference in Paris, and authorized the relocation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat to Tromsø, Norway alongside the Arctic Council Secretariat. (Click here to read the summary report.)

Ambassador David Balton, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials, heralded the upcoming meeting as “a terrific opportunity for the Arctic governments and indigenous representatives to take stock of the U.S. chairmanship, which is nearing its mid-point, and to consider the future directions that we want the Arctic Council to take.” Ambassador Balton will hold a media briefing in Fairbanks on Friday 18 March at 9:00am Alaska time to talk about outcomes from the SAO meeting.

The Members of the Arctic Council are the eight Arctic States – Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States. In addition, six organizations representing Arctic indigenous peoples have status as Permanent Participants.