This year, the Arctic Council celebrates 25 years of peaceful cooperation in the region. In this globally unique forum, states and Indigenous peoples work together for a sustainable Arctic. As global interest in the Arctic has grown, so has the Council. Test your knowledge on Arctic issues!
The eight Arctic States are Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation and the United States.
A non-binding agreement between the 8 Arctic States and Indigenous peoples organizations representing Inuit, Sami, and Russian Indigenous peoples.
Recognizing the special relationship of Indigenous Peoples to the Arctic region, the Arctic States assigned the special status of Permanent Participants (PPs) in the AEPS to the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Saami Council and Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON).
Created to monitor and assess pollution and climate change issues in the Arctic.
Established as a forum for scientists, Indigenous Peoples and conservation managers to exchange data and information on issues such as shared species and habitats and to collaborate for more effective research, sustainable utilization and conservation.
Established as a network for information on Arctic accidents and to provide a framework for future cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, with involvement of Indigenous Peoples and other Arctic residents in responding to threats of environmental emergencies in the Arctic.
Created to address policy and non-emergency response measures related to the protection of the marine environment from land and sea-based activities.
Established to represent the Indigenous Permanent Participants in the AEPS. Today, IPS supports all six Permanent Participants in the Arctic Council.
Ottawa, Canada lent its name to the Ottawa Declaration, which established the Arctic Council as the forum to promote “cooperation coordination and interaction” among the Arctic States and Arctic Indigenous peoples on issues like sustainable development and environmental protection.
The Chairmanship of the Council rotates between the eight Arctic States every two years.
On September 19, 1996 in Ottawa, the Arctic Council was established as a high-level intergovernmental forum to enhance cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States with the active involvement of Arctic Indigenous Peoples and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues.
admitted as a Permanent Participant of the Arctic Council.
Established to enhance the environment, economies, culture and health of Indigenous peoples and Arctic communities.
Flaring is the process of burning off unwanted gas from industrial processes like oil production. This practice is a major environmental concern causing emissions of black carbon.
The Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) Working Group has indicated that flaring is one of the most important sources of black carbon emissions from Arctic States and that emissions that are released close to the Arctic have the strongest effect on sea ice melting.
admitted as a Permanent Participant of the Arctic Council
admitted as Permanent Participants to the Arctic Council
Iceland has been the frontrunner on the Global Gender Gap Index for 11 years in a row. It’s followed by Nordic neighbours Norway, Finland and Sweden.
In the Barrow Declaration, the Council noted that "releases of mercury have harmful effects on human health and may damage ecosystems of environmental and economic importance, including in the Arctic" and called on the UN to initiate a global assessment of mercury.
The 2001 Stockholm Convention on POPs was catalyzed by Arctic Council research.
A team of more than 300 leading Arctic researchers, Indigenous representatives and other experts from fifteen nations worked with the Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Asessment Programme on the Assessment. They distilled and synthesised available scientific information, traditional knowledge, and Indigenous perceptions in order to examine how climate and ultraviolet radiation have changed in the Arctic, how they are projected to change in the future, and what the consequences of these changes will be for the Arctic and the world.
The first comprehensive multi-disciplinary assessment of the impacts of climate change in the Arctic.
The Council released the first comprehensive circumpolar assessment on the welfare of Arctic peoples.
The first AMSP set the Council's vision for the Arctic marine environment:
"A healthy and productive Arctic Ocean and coasts that support environmental, economic and sociocultural values for current and future generations."
In many Arctic communities, a high proportion of food comes from subsistence activities: hunting, fishing and gathering. The ways in which local foods are collected and shared make up a unique cultural and social economy.
CAFF officially launched the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) in September 2005. The Indigenous People’s Secretariat and Permanent Participants have been involved in this program since its launch, and a main component of the CBMP is community-based monitoring. Results from the CBMP directly connect with efforts toward sustainable development in the Arctic. The findings will be presented in a form tailored to address the needs of the Indigenous People, and assist policy makers on management of the Arctic’s living resources. A major product of this program was the 2010 Arctic Biodiversity Assessment.
Created to prevent and reduce pollution and environmental risks in the Arctic.
The first ECONOR report, led by the Sustainable Development Working Group, showed that rapid changes in the Arctic could have significant social, cultural and economic impacts on living conditions for the residents of the Arctic.
The Russian Chairmanship held a workshop in advancing sustainable development in the Arctic in Salekhard, the first of its kind in the Council's history. It resulted in an overall assessment of the corresponding activities and recommendations in further work on economic and social dimensions of sustainable development.
The Polar Code covers all aspects of safe shipping in Arctic and Antarctic waters, from ship design to navigation, to search and rescue and environmental protection.
An Arctic Council Secretariat was set up in Tromsø for the three Scandinavian Chairmanships: Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The Secretariat later became permanent, and remains in Tromsø today.
The symposium brought together Indigenous Peoples from throughout the circumpolar region to build on each other's knowledge and experience in protecting and revitalizing Indigenous languages.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore, foreign ministers and climate change scientists met on 28 April 2009 in Tromsø, Norway to discuss the impacts of melting ice in the Polar and mountain areas worldwide. The conference took place the day before the Arctic Council’s annual Ministerial meeting. A number of foreign ministers from states affected by melting ice and snow attended.
Recommendations from AMSA were developed to provide to guide the Council's work on Arctic shipping with a focus on:
Enhancing Arctic Marine Safety
Protecting Arctic People and the Environment
Building Arctic Marine Infrastructure.
By 2017, SWIPA amended its prediction to a nearly ice-free summer Arctic by the late 2030s.
AMAP’s assessment of the impacts of climate change on Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) brought together the latest scientific knowledge about the changing state of each component of the Arctic ‘cryosphere’, examining how these changes will impact both the Arctic as a whole and people living within the Arctic and elsewhere in the world.
The first legally binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council coordinates search and rescue response in the region.
An Arctic Council report on short-lived climate forcers enhanced understanding black carbon, spurring additional Council work on black carbon and methane.
The Council's EPPR Working Group compiled knowledge and expertise on the behaviour of hazardous substances in Arctic waters to promote the development and use of technologies and working methods that improve the ability to respond to accidents.
Switzerland became an Arctic Council Observer in 2017, joining 12 other states outside the Arctic with an interest in Arctic issues.
A future vision for the Arctic was agreed upon by the Arctic States together with the 6 permanent Arctic Indigenous people's organizations within the Arctic Council, in Kiruna, Sweden.
The second legally-binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council, this agreement strengthens cooperation, coordination and mutual assistance among Arctic States on oil pollution preparedness and response.
The ABA synthesized and assessed the status and trends of biological diversity in the Arctic.
The Permanent Participants are:
Aleut International Association (AIA)
Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC)
Gwich'in Council International (GCI)
Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)
Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON)
This independent forum provides a key venue for business-to-business cooperation and informs the work of the Council by providing a circumpolar business perspective.
The Circumpolar Mental Health Symposium in Iqaluit, Canada in March 2015 brought together a variety stakeholders to facilitate the knowledge transfer and sharing of evidence attained by researchers and communities.
The Arctic Council’s Arctic Marine Strategic Plan 2015-2025 provides a framework to guide its actions to protect Arctic marine and coastal ecosystems and to promote sustainable development.
The albedo effect describes how light materials, like snow and ice, absorb less of the sun’s heat and reflect more. Arctic ice helps to moderate temperatures around the world.
The Foreign Ministers of the Arctic States issued a Joint Statement highlighting the 20 years of cooperation and achievement that the Arctic Council has made possible.
The IPS moved from Copenhagen to join the Arctic Council Secretariat in Tromsø, Norway.
The latest SWIPA report makes it clear that the Arctic as we know it is being replaced by a warmer, wetter, and more variable environment. This transformation has profound implications for people, resources, and ecosystems worldwide.
The third binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council provides concrete support for Arctic scientific activities by facilitating access to research areas for marine and airborne data collection, supporting full and open access to scientific data, and promoting education and career development for students and early career scientists.
Peat, a rich mixture of organic material, is found in large quantities in the Arctic. When burned, it releases enormous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, worsening the climate impacts that drive increased fires in the first place.
Gwich'in Council International is bringing an effective traditional approach to fighting fire with the Circumpolar Wildland Fire project. By sharing resources and techniques, modern and traditional, the project aims to reduce catastrophic wildland fires.
Drawing and building on the findings of AMAP’s Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) 2017 assessment, the 2019 update provided observations, information from other recent assessments, and conclusions from the latest reviews of Arctic trends and indicators. The pace of change in the Arctic is so rapid that new records are being set annually, and each additional year of data strengthens the already compelling evidence of a rapidly changing Arctic.
The Arctic Council received the 2019 Global Award of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA). IAIA is an international association of professionals involved in environmental and social impact assessments, which annually awards a leading individual or institution that has contributed to the practice of environmental assessment, management or policy on a global scale.
Arctic Council Working Group CAFF released a status report on the flora and fauna of the Arctic's freshwater.
Seabirds. Cetaceans, as well as some species of fish and invertebrates, have also been documented to ingest plastic litter including microplastics. Arctic ice, water, seafloor and even wildlife contain surprising amounts of microplastics.
PAME's Arctic Shipping Status Report provides information on fuels used by ships in the Arctic in 2019 with a focus on heavy fuel oils (HFO). The Report shows that 10% of ships in Arctic waters as defined by the International Maritime Organization’s Polar Code burned HFO as fuel.
AMAP’s Expert Group on Litter and Microplastics is developing the first monitoring plan that is looking for plastics in the entire ecosystem
The Council's brief on Covid-19 in the Arctic provided insight into the complex and intricate ways the pandemic affects Arctic peoples and communities.
Nearly 40 Indigenous languages are spoken in Russia’s Arctic, from Aleut in the east to Kildin Sami in the west.
2022 will mark the start of the UN’s decade of Indigenous languages. Indigenous people in Russia are represented by the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Saami Council, Aleut International Association and RAIPON.