As December 24 draws near children all over the world wait impatiently for Santa Claus to arrive with their gifts. In the Arctic countries Santa Claus goes by many different names and wears a variety of symbolic costumes. From North America to Russia to Scandinavia, the Santa Claus figure is celebrated in different ways in the regions of the Arctic.

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On December 6 in Doha, as the COP 18 climate change negotiations switched gears for the finale, the Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council arranged a side event on climate change in the Arctic. The event was held against the background of the rapid and ominous development lately in the Arctic, in particular the past summer's sea ice melt. The event was well attended and a strong panel including Martin Lidegaard, climate and energy minister of Denmark, Jens Fredriksen, Minister for housing, infrastructure and transport from Greenland, and Lena Ek, Swedish Minister for the Environment, contributed to a lively discussion.

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The ACAP Working Group has approved (November 2012) a new project on Reduction of Black Carbon Emissions from Residential Wood Combustion. The ACAP project is co-lead by Norway and Finland.

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The Arctic Report Cards produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are a source of reliable and brief information on the current state of the Arctic environment. The Arctic Council working groups CAFF and AMAP supported work on the 2012 Report Cards, which detail dramatic changes in the Arctic with record losses of sea ice and late spring snow. The Arctic Council, through the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna’s (CAFF) Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme (CBMP), has contributed to the Arctic Report Card, an annual report released today by NOAA that monitors the often-quickly changing conditions in the Arctic.

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During the opening of the Senior Arctic Officials' meeting in Haparanda 14 November Magnús Jóhannesson was presented as the first Director of the new standing Secretariat of the Arctic Council in Tromsø, Norway. Mr. Jóhannesson is eager to begin work in February next year and believes that the Secretariat will be important to ensure continuity and coordination of the Arctic Council work.

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The three-day Arctic Resilience Report (ARR) workshop 29-31 October, 2012, held in Kautokeino (Guovdageaidnu in Sámi), in Northern Norway, focused on bringing the assessment of resilience closer to northern realities and also on providing an opportunity for in-depth discussion about the meeting of traditional, local and scientific knowledge in the context of resilience.

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