Arctic Council

logoThe Ottawa Declaration of 1996 formally established the Arctic Council as a high level intergovernmental forum to provide a means for promoting cooperation,coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous peoples and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. CLICK HERE to visit the Arctic Council Homepage.

Arctic Council Member States are:

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

In addition to the Member States, the Arctic Council has the category of Permanent Participants. Permanent Participants are Indigenous peoples’ organizations which have been granted full consultation rights in connection with the Council’s negotiations and decisions.

The Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council are:

  • Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC)
  • Aleut International Association (AIA)
  • Gwich’in Council International (GGI)
  • Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)
  • Russian Arctic Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON)
  • Saami Council (SC)

The Council’s activities are in turn conducted in six working groups. The working groups are composed of representatives at expert level from sectoral ministries, government agencies and researchers.

Their work covers a broad field of subjects, from climate change to emergency response.

There are six Working Groups of the Arctic Council:

  • Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP)
  • Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP)
  • Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)
  • Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR)
  • Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME)
  • Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG)

Arctic Council Secretariat – ACS

In order to strengthen the capacity of the Arctic Council to respond to the challenges and opportunities facing the Arctic, it was decided at the 2011 Ministerial meeting in Nuuk to establish a permanent Arctic Council Secretariat. The Secretariat provides administrative, communications and organizational support, such as maintaining the Arctic Council website; arranging and servicing meetings as required; transmitting reports to and from Arctic states, Permanent Participants and subsidiary bodies; assisting the Chair in drafting meeting documents including final reports; providing services to Permanent Participants and Working Groups; providing administrative services concerning general correspondence; and archiving of records.

Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat – IPS

The Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat is a support Secretariat for the International Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations that have Permanent Participant status in the Arctic Council.  
IPS assists with creating opportunities for the Permanent Participants to present their views, and helps provide them with necessary information and materials.


The Chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotates every two years among the eight Member States.  The United States of America is the Chair for the period 2015-2017.  Finland will chair for the period 2017-2019.