Canada and the Arctic Council
The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum that works to promote the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development in the Arctic region. The Council has successfully developed a common agenda among Arctic states and Indigenous Permanent Participants. Decisions are taken based on the consensus of members. The Council serves as a foundation for strong, responsible and cooperative governance of the region.
The Arctic Council comprises the eight Arctic States: Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States.
A unique feature of the Arctic Council is the involvement of six international Indigenous peoples’ organizations as Permanent Participants:
- Aleut International Association (AIA)
- Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC)
- Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)
- Gwich’in Council International (GCI)
- Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON)
- Saami Council
Our history with the Arctic Council
The Arctic Council is the leading multilateral forum through which Canada advances its interests internationally. It was established in Ottawa in 1996 with the Ottawa Declaration. Canada was the first Chair of the Arctic Council from 1996 to 1998, and again from 2013-2015. The Chair of the Council rotates among the member countries every two years.
Through the Canadian International Arctic Fund we provide funding to the Canadian Permanent Participants (Arctic Athabaskan Council; Inuit Circumpolar Council; and Gwich’in Council International) so that they may participate in Arctic Council activities.
The work of the Arctic Council is supervised and directed by ministers of the Arctic member states, who are supported by the Senior Arctic Officials.
Canada actively participates in the work of the Arctic Council. This work is carried out in six expert working groups:
- Arctic Contaminants Action Program Working Group (ACAP): provides information on remedial and preventive actions relating to contaminants (Environment and Climate Change Canada);
- Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme Working Group (AMAP): focuses on monitoring, assessing and preventing pollution in the Arctic (Environment and Climate Change Canada);
- Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group (CAFF): focuses on biodiversity conservation and sustainability (Environment and Climate Change Canada);
- Emergency Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Working Group (EPPR): focuses on prevention, preparedness and response to environmental emergencies (Transport Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans);
- Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME): focuses on policy and pollution prevention and control measures related to the protection of the Arctic marine environment (Transport Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans).
- Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG): focuses on the living conditions of Arctic residents (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada).
Canada is also represented on Task Forces – areas of work set out by the Arctic Council Chairmanship.
- Fairbanks Declaration 2017
- The Arctic Council: A Forum for Peace and Cooperation
- Declaration on the Establishment of the Arctic Council
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