Arctic Council

The leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation in the Arctic.

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Arctic peoples

The Arctic is home to almost four million people today – Indigenous people, more recent arrivals, hunters and herders living on the land, and city dwellers.

Biodiversity

The Arctic is home to more than 21,000 known species of highly cold-adapted mammals, birds, fish, invertebrates, plants and fungi and microbes.

Climate

The temperatures in the Arctic continue to rise at more than twice the global annual average.

Ocean

The Arctic States hold a responsibility to safeguard the future development of the region and to develop models for stewardship of the marine environment.

Pollutants

The Arctic environment carries the traces of human-induced pollution – from soot to plastics, from methane to pesticides.

Emergencies

Harsh conditions and limited infrastructure in much of the Arctic increase risks and impacts and hinder response activities.

Who is the Arctic Council?

Expert groups and task forces carry out additional work.

What does the Arctic Council do?

Credit: Freepik/Flaticon
Agreements and cooperation

The establishment of the Arctic Council was considered an important milestone enhancing cooperation in the circumpolar North. In the Ottawa Declaration, the eight Arctic States established the Council as a high-level forum to provide means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States – including the full consultation and full involvement of Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants.

Credit: Freepik/flaticon
Data and knowledge

At any given time the Council’s subsidiary bodies – the Working and Expert Groups – are engaged in close to 100 projects and initiatives.

Arctic monitoring. Icon: Freepik/Flaticon
Monitoring

As the Arctic continues to experience a period of intense and accelerating change it has become increasingly important to have better information on the status and trends of the Arctic environment.

Credit: Freepik/Flaticon
Assessments

Through the ever-growing body of assessments produced by its six Working Groups, the Arctic Council serves as knowledge broker and global advocate for Arctic topics. The Working Groups’ assessments have been instrumental in bringing Arctic issues to a global arena through policy recommendations and international cooperation.

Credit: Freepik/Flaticon
Recommendations

The strong knowledge base produced by the Arctic Council’s Working Groups and other subsidiary bodies feeds into recommendations for informed decision-making.

Iceland is the current chair of the Arctic Council.
Learn about chairmanship priorities

What's new?

Recent news

Healthy communities need healthy oceans - An Athabaskan perspective on a sustainable Arctic Ocean

Chief Gary Harrison is chairman of the Chickaloon Native Village, located North-East of Anchorage, Alaska, and representative of the Arctic Athabaskan Council. As the Arc...
19 Oct 2020

Suggestions from the coast: An Inuit perspective on a sustainable Arctic Ocean

Jim Stotts, president of the Alaskan chapter of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), was one of five experts joining the panel at the first thematic webinar in a meeting ...
13 Oct 2020

Biodiversity: Awareness has increased, as has our knowledge

CAFF Chair Mark Marissink on the fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook
08 Oct 2020
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Events

October
26 Oct-28 Oct 2020
SDWG meeting Online
November
11 Nov-12 Nov 2020
SAO Executive Meeting Online / Reykjavik
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@arcticcouncil

  • As we work to ehance #marine cooperation, we spoke with Chief Gary Harrison of #Arctic Athabaskan Council to get his perspective on marine issues. Learn about the importance of the ocean to #Athabaskan communities and some of Chief Gary's main concerns: ow.ly/x93T50BWb30 https://t.co/zMWzSLL0yn October 19 7:01 pm

Focus: The Arctic Marine Environment

Plastic litter on an Arctic coast. Photo: iStock/sodar99
Arctic Marine Microplastics and Litter
AMAP is developing a monitoring plan for microplastics and litter in Arctic waters.
Overview
Circumpolar Oil Spill Response Viability Analysis Phase II (COSRVA II)
The COSRVA is intended to provide more science-based decision-making in Arctic oil spill response contingency planning. An additional benefit of the study is the identification of components or method...
Overview
Marine Biodiversity Monitoring
Arctic marine environments are experiencing, or expected to experience, many human-induced and natural pressures.
Overview
iStock
Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum
The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum facilitates an exchange of information and best practices on shipping topics like hydrography, search and rescue logistics, industry guidelines and ...
Overview
Cod drying. Photo: iStock
Blue Bioeconomy in the Arctic Region
The sustainable and intelligent use of renewable aquatic natural resources, with a focus on improving utilization and creating higher-value products.
Overview
Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON)
SAON's vision is a connected, collaborative, and comprehensive long-term pan-Arctic Observing System that serves societal needs. SAON's mission is to facilitate, coordinate, and advocate for...
Overview