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SAOs to meet in Yellowknife October 22-23, 2014

20 October 2014
At the meeting of Senior Arctic Officials in Yellowknife, delegations will take a comprehensive look at the ongoing work of the Arctic Council.

The Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs) will meet in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, October 22-23, 2014. Delegations will take a comprehensive look at the ongoing work of the Arctic Council and assess progress on the Council’s priorities during Canada’s Chairmanship.

The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum for cooperation on Arctic issues, bringing together the eight Arctic states and the six permanent participant organizations representing indigenous peoples of the Arctic region.

“This meeting marks an important milestone on the way to the Arctic Council’s 2015 Ministerial Meeting, which will be hosted by Canada in Iqaluit, Nunavut April 24-25, 2015”, said Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials Vincent Rigby.

In Yellowknife, the Arctic Council’s Working Groups and Task Forces will update SAOs on the progress being made on deliverables for the Iqaluit Ministerial. Issues to be discussed include:

  • A report by the Arctic Contaminants Action Programme (ACAP) on the reduction of black carbon emissions from residential wood combustion in the Arctic;
  • An update from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) on its assessments related to short-lived climate pollutants, human health, persistent organic pollutants, and radioactivity;
  • The work of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) group related to implementation of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, the upcoming Arctic Biodiversity Congress, the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program and progress on the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative;
  • The Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) group’s work on revisions to the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan, which will provide policy priorities on marine-related issues of the Arctic Council for the next ten years, the status of the development of a pan-Arctic framework for marine protected areas, and providing progress on the Arctic Marine Tourism Project;
  • The work of the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) to promote traditional and local knowledge, develop a climate change adaptation portal, and promote mental wellness in circumpolar communities;
  • The Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) group’s circumpolar marine environmental risk assessment and its guide on oil spill response in ice and snow. EPPR will also report on the first exercise conducted under the auspices of the Arctic Marine Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Agreement in Canada, May 2014;
  • Updates from the Council’s task forces related to its priority work on black carbon and methane, the establishment of a circumpolar business forum, Arctic marine oil pollution prevention, and scientific cooperation.

In advance of the SAO meeting, the fourth SDWG General meeting under the Canadian Chairmanship will be held in Yellowknife. Following the SDWG General meeting, on October 20, 2014, a community outreach event hosted by the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) will be held in N’dilo. This event will highlight the Arctic Council’s work to incorporate traditional knowledge into the work of the Council, which is a priority initiative under the Canadian Chairmanship.