Arctic Council

The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

Arctic Council assessments and recommendations are the result of analysis and efforts undertaken by the Working Groups.
Decisions of the Arctic Council are taken by consensus among the eight Arctic Council States, with full consultation and involvement of the Permanent Participants.

The Chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotates every two years among the Arctic States. The Chairmanship of the United States will expire on May 2017 the next country to assume the Chairmanship will be Finland (2017-2019).



The Ottawa Declaration lists the following countries as Members of the Arctic Council:

  • Canada
  • Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands)
  • Finland
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • The Russian Federation
  • Sweden
  • The United States of America

The category of Permanent Participant was created to provide for active participation and full consultation with the Arctic indigenous peoples within the Council:

  • Aleut International Association
  • Arctic Athabaskan Council
  • Gwich’in Council International
  • Inuit Circumpolar Council
  • Saami Council
  • Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON).

Observer status in the Arctic Council is open to non-Arctic states, along with inter-governmental, inter-parliamentary, global, regional and non-governmental organizations that the Council determines can contribute to its work. Arctic Council Observers primarily contribute through their engagement in the Council at the level of Working Groups.

Non-Arctic countries

  • France
  • Germany
  • The Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • People's Republic of China
  • Italian Republic
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Republic of Singapore
  • Republic of India

Intergovernmental and Inter-Parliamentary Organizations

Non-governmental organizations


Working Groups Meetings (4 sessions)

At One Arctic delegates are asked to choose a specific Working Group, with each delegate representing the interests of her or his assigned country/organization in their Working Group. Each Working Group will discuss a specific topic.

The Council's activities are conducted in working groups. One Arctic Working Groups to be simulated are

  • Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP) that will discuss the topic “Enhancing environmentally sound management of hazardous waste”
  • Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) that will discuss the topic “Improving economic and living conditions for arctic communities”
  • Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) that will discuss the topic “Economic Exploitation of the arctic ocean: safety, security and stewardship”
  • Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) that will discuss the topic “Addressing the impacts of climate change”

The Working Groups will formulate a Report to be presented to the Sao’s meeting.

This report will outline the groups’ recommendations on what actions should be taken by Member States/organizations to address the topics discussed in each of the Working Groups.

The second stage of One Arctic is the Senior Arctic Official’s (SAOs) meeting that will take place on the third day of the event.

All four members of a delegation will work together to represent their country/permanent participant/observer’s interests.

The SAO’s meeting will discuss the Working Groups’ reports and will ensure that the Arctic Council members are in agreement with the reports’ recommendations.

The final day of the event will be a simulation of the Ministerial meeting. Each delegation of the Member States or Permanent Participants will appoint one of their member to act as Foreign Minister and to deliver a statement.

These statements will reflect the position of the Arctic Council Members to the recommendations, and will declare how they will implement those recommendations into their policies.


Arctic Council
U.S. Chairmanship Arctic Website