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.

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Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity Working Group of the Arctic Council, met for their bi-annual meeting in Kirkenes, Norway from February 2-4. During the meeting meaningful progress was made on several ongoing initiatives such as the Arctic Invasive Alien Species project which will be presented to Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials at the upcoming meeting 16-17 March in Fairbanks, Alaska.

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At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), in Paris, France, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland generously hosted and prepared a side event focused on the Arctic Council’s work on short-lived climate pollutants – in particular, black carbon and methane. This event, which followed discussions that took place at the Senior Arctic Officials’ meeting in Anchorage in October 2015, took place on Saturday 5 December. It ran adjacent to the venue where UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took part in a high-level side event on the Arctic entitled "Seeing is Believing", organized and hosted by the Government of Norway, and including youth participants from “Mission Nansen,” a Norwegian children's television program.

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The Arctic Council’s Working Group on Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) met on 1-3 December 2015 in Reykjavik, Iceland. Following their last meeting in Svalbard, EPPR met to discuss the group’s work on issues critical in the Arctic such as search-and-rescue (SAR) and preparedness and response to marine oil spills. EPPR is the Arctic Council’s point-of-contact for implementation of the 2013 Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic (MOSPA).

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