Norway took over the Arctic Council

– We look forward to leading the Arctic Council over the next two years. It is important that the Arctic Council continues to be the most important international forum for Arctic issues, Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said.

Norwegian Arctic Ambassador Morten Høglund attended the meeting from Tromsø. Photo: Jessica Cook/Arctic Council Secretariat

Norway took over the Arctic Council today. The takeover took place in a digital meeting attended by the eight Arctic states Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States, as well as representatives from the six indigenous organizations on the council. Norway’s Ambassador to the Arctic, Morten Høglund, represented Norway. At the meeting, board members were agree on a joint statement.

– Norway will continue to focus on the core tasks of the Arctic Council, such as the effects of climate change, sustainable development and helping people to lead a good life in the region, said Huitfeldt .

The four main priorities of the Norwegian leaders are the sea, the climate and the environment, sustainable economic development and the inhabitants of the north. In addition, Norway will pay special attention to Arctic youth and Arctic indigenous peoples.

After Russia launched its full-scale war of aggression against Ukraine, contrary to international law, on February 24, 2022, the official work of the Arctic Council was promptly suspended. Work on projects without Russian participation resumed in June last year.

– Our goal is that the Arctic Council can resume its important work under our leadership. Together with the other Member States, we will now clarify how this can happen in practice. Political contact with Russia is impossible, but we will continue to deal with Russia in an orderly and predictable manner within the Arctic Council, the foreign minister said.

For more than 25 years, the Arctic Council has played a leading role in Arctic cooperation.

The council is a unique platform for cooperation between the Arctic states and the indigenous peoples of the Arctic.

– It is crucial that Arctic states continue to take responsibility for managing climate change and its effects on Arctic ecosystems and people. We now look forward to reinforcing and highlighting the important work that is being done every day in the working groups and expert groups of the Arctic Council, said Foreign Minister Huitfeldt.

Adele Matthews

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