The Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council is is arranging the first Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) meeting of the year at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm in March. The Chairmanship in cooperation with the museum hope to arouse interest in nature and natural sciences, the environment, conservation and biodiversity. Interests that chime well with the activities of the Arctic Council.

The Swedish Museum of Natural History is a major research institute which houses collections containing specimens collected in the 18th century and onwards. It primarily conducts scientific research within systematics and taxonomy. In addition, it cooperates with researchers from all over the world and is visited annually by several hundred guest researchers. The Swedish Chairmanship will gather representatives from the Arctic Council member states, indigenous peoples’ organisations, working groups and observer states at the museum on 28–29 March for this year’s first SAO meeting. A number of public events are also planned in connection with the meeting.

“During the week, we want the Swedish Museum of Natural History to not only be the venue for the Arctic Council meeting, but also a platform for discourse between experts and the wider public interested in the Arctic,” says Sweden’s Arctic Ambassador Gustaf Lind.

Since 1965, the museum has been a government agency reporting to the Ministry of Culture. Its task is to promote interest in, knowledge about and research into the origin and development of the universe and Earth, the plant and animal kingdoms and the biology and natural environment of humans. Currently on display is Polar Regions, one of the world’s largest exhibitions on the extreme conditions for the survival of animals at the Earth’s poles.

“We are delighted to be able to contribute to the sustainable development of the polar regions by making this meeting as good as possible. We hope to inspire people with our exhibitions on the polar regions and with our research and knowledge,” says Jan Olov Westerberg, Director of the Swedish Museum of Natural History.

In connection with the SAO meeting, the Polar Research Secretariat is also arranging this year’s Polar Forum at the Museum of Natural History. The Polar Forum is a meeting place for researchers working on on, and in, the polar regions, the Scandinavian mountains and other northern regions, as well as for government agencies and organisations.


Photos by Mikael Axelsson

Text by Linn Duvhammar