Norway takes over as Chair of the Arctic Council

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‘We are looking forward to chairing the Arctic Council for the next two years. It is vital that the Arctic Council maintains its role as the most important multilateral forum for addressing issues relating to the Arctic,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

Bilde av Norges Arktis-ambassadør sittende med norsk bordflagg og roll-up med logoen for Norges lederskap
Norway's Arctic Ambassador Morten Høglund attended the meeting from Tromsø. Credit: Jessica Cook/Arctic Council Secretariat

Today, Norway took over the Chairship of the Arctic Council in a digital meeting attended by the eight Arctic States (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the US) and representatives of the six Arctic Indigenous Peoples’ organisations. Norway’s Ambassador for Arctic Affairs, Mr Morten Høglund, represented Norway. The members of the Council issued a common statement from the meeting.

‘Norway will continue to focus on the core issues the Council deals with, including the impacts of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to enhance the well-being of people living in the region,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.

The four main priority areas of the Norwegian Chairship are the oceans, climate and environment, sustainable economic development, and people in the north. In addition, Norway will focus particularly on Arctic youth and Arctic indigenous peoples.

After Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine in February last year, official meetings in the Arctic Council were quickly suspended. In June, projects not involving the participation of the Russian Federation were resumed.

‘Our aim is for the Arctic Council to resume its important work during Norway’s period as Chair. Together with the other member states, we will now explore how this can be achieved in practice. Political contact with Russia is not possible, but we will continue to be predictable in our dealings with Russia in the Arctic Council,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.

For more than 25 years, the Arctic Council has played a key role in Arctic cooperation. The Council is a unique platform for cooperation between Arctic states and Arctic Indigenous Peoples.

‘It is vital that the Arctic States continue to take responsibility for addressing climate change and its impacts on ecosystems and people in the Arctic. We look forward to strengthening and increasing the visibility of the work carried out by the Council,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.