The first SAO meeting organized under the Swedish Chairmanship was a success. Approximately 160 people attended the meeting which took place at the Luleå Technical University 8-9 November. Meeting participants were welcomed on Tuesday morning by a personal video greeting from Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt. Arctic Council Chair Gustaf Lind then opened the meeting with general information about the goals and working procedures for the Swedish Chairmanship period.
Five new projects
As the meeting progressed representatives from the member states, permanent participants, working groups, and observer organizations held short presentations on various projects connected to the Arctic Council. Some of the presentations gave information about ongoing projects while others introduced proposals for new projects. During the first meeting day Tuesday 8 November the Arctic Resilience Report (ARR) proposal was accepted. On the second meeting day Wednesday 9 November four Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) proposals for human development projects were accepted. The project reports and proposals can be found here:
Arctic Resilience Report Proposal
Arctic Human Development Report II - Regional Processes and Global Linkages
Assessing, Monitoring, and Promoting Arctic Indigenous Languages
Reindeer Herding Youth Project
Electronic Memory of the Arctic
During the coffee and lunch breaks it was possible for participants to visit a display area with tables where the working groups presented their work. Private meeting rooms were also available for group work or discussions.
Despite the busy schedule not all of the time in Luleå was spent working. On Tuesday evening after the meeting there was a joint dinner for the participants at the Nordkalotten hotel. Local delicacies such as fish and wild berries were served to the guests who ate while being entertained by the Saami singer Katarina Rimpi. Rimpi sang several joiks, a type of traditional Saami song, and also taught the audience how to imitate the sounds of wild animals.
After completing all of the agenda points on schedule Gustaf Lind closed the meeting on Wednesday afternoon in high spirits, and with sights already set on the next SAO meeting which will take place in Stockholm in March 2012.
Photos from Luleå
Please visit our Luleå photo gallery to see some pictures from the meeting, excursion, dinner and more.