At the meeting just concluded in Rovaniemi, Finland, the Arctic Council focused its discussions on Arctic biodiversity and received updates from all the Council’s subsidiary bodies on their ongoing work.
Friday, 02 Nov 2018
Representatives of the eight Arctic States and six indigenous Permanent Participant organizations, as well as the Arctic Council’s six Working Groups and more than thirty Observers, met in Rovaniemi, Finland on 1-2 November 2018. This was the third Senior Arctic Officials’ meeting held during the Chairmanship of Finland (2017-2019).
The Council focused its thematic discussion on biodiversity in the Arctic and welcomed updates from the six Working Groups, two Task Forces, and one Expert Group, as well as interventions from Observers. During the biodiversity discussion Working Groups presented their ongoing efforts to advance biodiversity conservation, inform policy, and engage the public.
In addition, Iceland presented a preliminary plan for their upcoming Chairmanship program (2019-2021).
Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials, said of the meeting: “We were pleased to bring the Arctic Council SAO meeting to Rovaniemi, where circumpolar Arctic cooperation started over 25 years ago. Enjoying the hospitality of the city of Rovaniemi and the University of Lapland, we conducted a meeting which gave us a comprehensive picture of the forward-looking work of the Arctic Council subsidiary bodies, including deliverables to the Ministerial meeting in May 2019.”
The Council also received progress reports from the six Working Groups and updates on the following:
- the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development held in New York in July 2018;
- the UArctic Congress held in Oulu and Helsinki in September 2018;
- the Arctic Resilience Forum held in Rovaniemi in September 2018;
- the Arctic Environment Ministers’ meeting held in Rovaniemi in October 2018;
- the Arctic Biodiversity Congress held in Rovaniemi in October 2018;
- the Second Arctic Science Ministerial meeting held in Berlin in October 2018; and
- the status of implementation of the scientific cooperation agreement signed in 2017.
On the second day of the meeting, the Council’s Observer States informed delegates on the Warsaw format meetings and a briefing was given by the Arctic Economic Council.
A Model Arctic Council event hosted by the University of Lapland also took place in Rovaniemi during the week of the SAO meeting.
The next Senior Arctic Officials’ meeting will take place in Ruka, Finland in March 2019. This meeting will be the last SAO Plenary meeting of the Finnish Chairmanship before the Chairmanship concludes with the high-level Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in May 2019.
Images for media use
Photos from the meeting are available for download at the link below under Creative Commons BY ND license. Credit: Arctic Council Secretariat / Linnea Nordström
Finnish Chairmanship, Martti Ruokolainen
+358 40 510 7518
Arctic Council Secretariat
The eight Arctic States are Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States.
The six indigenous Permanent Participant organizations are the Aleut International Association, the Arctic Athabaskan Council, the Gwich’in Council International, the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the Saami Council, and RAIPON – the Russian Association of Indigenous People of the North.
The Arctic Council focuses on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.
The Council holds Senior Arctic Officials’ meetings roughly every six months, and Ministerial meetings roughly every two years. The next Ministerial meeting will take place in spring of 2019.
The Finnish Chairmanship runs from 2017-2019, after which Iceland will assume the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
The six Working Groups of the Arctic Council are:
- ACAP (Arctic Contaminants Action Program)
- AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme)
- CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna)
- EPPR (Emergency Prevention, Preparedness, and Response)
- PAME (Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment)
- SDWG (Sustainable Development Working Group)
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