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. The United States currently holds the rotating Chairmanship of the Council, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.


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. Media wishing to attend either in person or remotely can register here. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / +47 911 20 370.

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. Learn more about the Council and its work at
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Get to know all six Arctic Council Working Groups: ACAP, AMAP, CAFF, EPPRPAME and SDWG.

Click for more information on the U.S. Chairmanship or an introductory backgrounder on the Arctic Council.