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Outcomes of the Haparanda SAO Meeting

16 November 2012
The first director for the new standing Arctic Council Secretariat in Tromsø, Norway was selected and a statement on the situation with the Permanent Participant organization RAIPON was released. All major priorities of the Swedish chairmanship in the Arctic Council were negotiated.

The third SAO meeting of the Swedish Chairmanship took place at "Folkets Hus" in Haparanda in Northern Sweden 14-15 November. Magnús Jóhannesson, Secretary General of the Ministry for the Environment of Iceland, was awarded the position as director for the Secretariat. Jóhannesson is also the current chair of the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), and has a long history of Arctic Council work. The director is expected to begin work in February of next year and will play a vital role in making the transition from the temporary secretariat to the standing secretariat.

A topic which brought much attention to the meeting was the suspension of the Russian Indigenous Peoples' organization RAIPON. RAIPON has been suspended from formal operations as of November since the organization does not fulfill Russian law on national organizations. The Senior Arctic Officials and Permanent Participant Heads of Delegation, including both Russia and RAIPON, drafted a statement which SAO Chair Gustaf Lind read at the meeting.

On the second meeting day there were discussions on the Council’s important work with prevention and response to oil spill which will be finalized for the Ministerial meeting in Kiruna in May 2013. The current work with private businesses on corporate social responsibility in the Arctic was also raised.

SAO chair Gustaf Lind comments:

"The meeting was very productive. With the appointment of Magnús Jóhannesson we can now take the final steps in establishing the new Arctic Council secretariat in Tromsø."

Documents and presentations from the meeting will soon be made available in the document archive.

Photos from the meeting can be found in the Arctic Council photo gallery.