Request for Proposals

Mail AttachmentExecutive Secretary of the Arctic Council’s Sustainable
Development Working Group

The Request for Proposals (RFP) to secure the next Executive Secretary of the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group has now been posted on the Government of Canada website. This RFP will be open until May 19, 2016 at 15:00 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Please share this RFP widely among your networks so that SDWG can attract the best possible candidates.

The RFP and other information (e.g., mandatory requirements, basis of selection) can be found here:

Mental Wellness

Mental Wellness Symposium


Mental Wellness Symposium youth delegates Photo: CIHR

As part of the priority initiative The Evidence-Base for Promoting Mental Wellness and Resilience to Address Suicide in Circumpolar Communities, the SDWG hosted a Mental Wellness Symposium on March 25-27 in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada.

The objective of the symposium was to facilitate knowledge transfer and enable the sharing of promising practices on mental health promotion gathered by teams of researchers and communities, with a particular emphasis on Indigenous youth. The event brought together researchers, policymakers, Indigenous communities, representatives of Permanent Participant organizations and representatives of Arctic Council member states, and helped foster both a better understanding of mental health methods that reflect Indigenous practices across the Arctic.

The engagement and participation of youth was an important focus of the symposium go now. Over the course of the three-day event, there was a youth panel discussion on community engagement, cultural values, and the importance of self-awareness. In addition, Aviaq Johnston, a young Iqaluit writer who received the Governor General’s History Award in 2014, provided a testimonial about the challenges faced by Inuit youth. The symposium empowered youth to shape solutions that value traditional knowledge.

Many thanks to the symposium organizers the Government of Nunavut, the Government of Canada and the Inuit Circumpolar Council for their dedication to the project and for ensuring the event was a huge success.

More information on the symposium can be found at

Duane Smith, President of ICC Canada, delivers remarks at the Circumpolar Mental Wellness Symposium


Regional perspectives on mental wellness interventions in various settings (Part 1) 

Regional perspectives on mental wellness interventions in various settings (Part 2) 


Research findings, conclusions, and future perspectives:“Mental Well-Being and Suicide Prevention in Circumpolar Communities: Developing the Evidence Base and Identifying Promising Practices”

Panel: Making policy relevant to the needs and priorities of communities 



Understanding and Measuring Human Development in the Arctic

The Nordic Council of Ministers has recently released two reports focused on understanding and measuring human wellbeing and development in the Arctic. The Arctic Human Development Report: Regional Processes and Global Linkages (AHDR-II) provides a 10-year update on the first Arctic Human Development Report (2004) in terms of assessing the state of Arctic human development; highlighting the major trends and changes unfolding in the Arctic; and identifying policy relevant conclusions, key gaps in knowledge and new and emerging success stories the area of Arctic human development.

The Arctic Social Indicators: ASI II: Implementation (ASI-II), builds on the first ASI initiative (2010), whose original objective was to develop a small set of Arctic specific social indicators that could help facilitate the tracking and monitoring of change in human development in the Arctic. ASI-II takes this original work a step further by presenting and discussing the ASI-I findings; conducting a series of regional case studies to illustrate and test the strength and applicability of these indicators; identifying and describing data challenges for the Arctic region; and formulating policy relevant conclusions for the long term monitoring of Arctic human development.

Both these reports contribute greatly to our overall understanding of human development in the Arctic and help advance the case for frequent collection and reporting of key Arctic relevant indicators.

The full reports, as well as additional background information, can be found below:


ASI-II-Cover-webArctic Social Indicators: ASI II: Implementation (2015)
Larsen, Joan Nymand (Editor)
Schweitzer, Peter (Editor)
Petrov, Andrey (Editor)
Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordic Council of Ministers Secretariat

Full Report (click here)
Background Information (click here)



AHDR-II-cover-webArctic Human Development Report: Regional Processes and Global Linkages (2015)
Larsen, Joan Nymand (Editor)
Fondahl, Gail (Editor)
Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordic Council of Ministers Secretariat

Full Report (click here)
Background Information (click here)

SDWG Mandate

The goal of the Sustainable Development program of the Arctic Council is to propose and adopt steps to be taken by the Arctic States to advance sustainable development in the Arctic. This includes opportunities to protect and enhance the environment and the economies, culture and health of indigenous peoples and Arctic communities. The guiding tenet running throughout the work of the SDWG is to pursue initiatives that provide practical knowledge and contribute to building the capacity of indigenous peoples and Arctic communities to respond to the challenges and benefits from the opportunities in the Arctic region.

Importance of Traditional Knowledge in SDWG Work

In October, 2014 the Arctic Council and its Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) were welcomed onto Dene traditional territory in N’Dilo, NWT to host a public outreach event titled “Traditional Knowledge in our Work”. A full house was treated to a stellar panel of local, national and international speakers who shared their perspectives on traditional knowledge, and how it was being used in the Arctic Council and other organizations. At the beginning and end of the event, participants and attendees were treated to an energetic performance by the Tlicho and Dene First Nation drummers; a perfect way to bookend the interesting discussions of the evening.


Photo: The Tlicho Drummers and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation Drummers performing at the opening of the outreach event
Photo credit: Arctic Council Secretariat/Jesper Stig Andersen

CLICK HERE for a copy of the recommendations adopted by the Arctic Council in 2015 for integration of indigenous knowledge into the work of the Council.

SDWG Newsletters During Canadian Chairmanship

The SDWG prepared newsletters during the period 2013-2015 to provide an overview of the activities undertaken by our Working Group in the lead up to the 9th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting that took place in Iqaluit, Canada in late April 2015.

In addition to celebrating the accomplishments of the SDWG under the 2013-15 Canadian chairmanship, the document provided a preview of the work to be advanced under the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2015-2017).  The theme of Improving Economic and Living Conditions will guide SDWG work during the 2015-2017 period as we strive to address the human dimension of the Arctic and support the well-being of circumpolar residents.

SDWG Newsletters:

SDWG General Meeting – Progress Towards the 2015 Ministerial

SDWG held its fourth General Meeting under Canada’s Chairmanship, on October 18-19, 2014, in Yellowknife. The objective was to provide status updates on the projects of the 2013-2015 SDWG Work Plan, to discuss the remaining work prior to the Ministerial meeting, and to learn about the emerging US priorities for the SDWG. The status reports on the SDWG Chairmanship priority initiatives and other SDWG projects demonstrated that work is on track and significant progress has been made towards the delivery of project results by April 2015, including on Mental Wellness and Resilience, the Arctic Adaptation Exchange and the Traditional and Local Knowledge Initiative. The Chair would like to thank everyone involved their hard work and thoughtfulness over the course of the two day meetings. The group’s efforts went a long way to making the fourth General Meeting a success.


“The Tlicho Drummers and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation Drummers performing at the opening of the outreach event”
Photo credit: Arctic Council Secretariat/Jesper Stig Andersen