A new International Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic will bring together experts on marine plastics to share new and emerging knowledge and best practices. 

The symposium will bring together experts on marine plastics to share knowledge and best practices, with the ultimate goal to feed into the Arctic Council’s regional action plan for the Arctic.

When: 21-23 April, 2020
Where: Reykjavík, Iceland
Key dates:

  • 1 November 2019 - Early bird registration ends
  • 1 December 2019 - Abstract submission deadline
  • 15 January 2020 - Acceptance of abstracts finalized
  • 1 February 2020 - Program finalized; End of registration

Learn more and register here.

Iceland holds the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council from May 2019 to May 2021 and the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2019. In both roles, the Icelandic Government is focused on the ocean, and particularly on the fight against plastic in the marine environment.

Therefore, the Government of Iceland has decided to host the first International Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic in collaboration with the Nordic Council of Ministers in connection with the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. On behalf of the government of Iceland, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Industries and Innovation are responsible for the preparation of the Symposium.

Sponsors of the symposium are the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the OSPAR Commission, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC), the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute of Iceland, the Harvard Kennedy School and the International Arctic Science Committee.


The Arctic Council will host a side event at this year’s Our Ocean conference in Oslo on 23 October. The side event is themed “A Cleaner Arctic Marine Environment – Battling Marine Debris in the Arctic” and is organized jointly with the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs and two of the Council’s Working Groups: the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme and the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group.


The Arctic Council and the Arctic Economic Council hold their first joint meeting in Reykjavik today, 9 October 2019, bringing together government representatives of the eight Arctic States, business representatives, as well as representatives of the indigenous Permanent Participants, and the Councils’ respective Working Groups. The meeting is a step towards enhancing cooperation and collaboration between the Arctic Council and the Arctic Economic Council, as outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding the secretariats of both Councils signed last May. The discussions in Reykjavik will focus on subject areas of common interest, such as marine transportation and blue economy, telecommunications connectivity, responsible resource development and mainstreaming biodiversity, as well as on responsible investments and corporate social responsibility.


Editorial by Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials

As we learn more about the challenges we face in the Arctic, it becomes clearer by the day that collaboration with partners outside the region is needed in order to effectively tackle them. What is more, non-Arctic states around the globe are waking up to the fact that what happens in and to the Arctic has direct and widespread effects on them.


The Arctic Community Energy Planning and Implementation Toolkit

Arctic winters tend to be long and, in many places, extremely cold. Energy use in Arctic communities therefore can be very high, making reliable and affordable electricity and heating a priority. Today, many Arctic communities rely almost exclusively on fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation. These fuels can come from local sources or be shipped in by land, sea, or air – and those transportation methods bring still more challenges and costs. Thus, there is a growing need, desire, and opportunity for communities to develop clean energy projects.