Arctic Council

The leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation in the Arctic.

About us
A woman and child in the Arctic. Photo: iStock
Arctic peoples

The Arctic is home to almost four million people today – Indigenous people, more recent arrivals, hunters and herders living on the land, and city dwellers.

Eiders in flight. Photo: CAFF
Biodiversity

The Arctic is home to more than 21,000 known species of highly cold-adapted mammals, birds, fish, invertebrates, plants and fungi and microbes.

Wind power production in the Arctic. Photo: iStock
Climate

The temperatures in the Arctic continue to rise at more than twice the global annual average.

Sea ice in the Arctic.
Ocean

The Arctic States hold a responsibility to safeguard the future development of the region and to develop models for stewardship of the marine environment.

A seal caught in a fishing net. Photo: iStock
Pollutants

The Arctic environment carries the traces of human-induced pollution – from soot to plastics, from methane to pesticides.

An oil boom. Photo: iStock
Emergencies

Harsh conditions and limited infrastructure in much of the Arctic increase risks and impacts and hinder response activities.

Who is the Arctic Council?

Expert groups and task forces carry out additional work.

What does the Arctic Council do?

Credit: Freepik/Flaticon
Agreements and cooperation

The establishment of the Arctic Council was considered an important milestone enhancing cooperation in the circumpolar North. In the Ottawa Declaration, the eight Arctic States established the Council as a high-level forum to provide means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States – including the full consultation and full involvement of Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants.

Credit: Freepik/flaticon
Data and knowledge

At any given time the Council’s subsidiary bodies – the Working and Expert Groups – are engaged in close to 100 projects and initiatives.

Arctic monitoring. Icon: Freepik/Flaticon
Monitoring

As the Arctic continues to experience a period of intense and accelerating change it has become increasingly important to have better information on the status and trends of the Arctic environment.

Credit: Freepik/Flaticon
Assessments

Through the ever-growing body of assessments produced by its six Working Groups, the Arctic Council serves as knowledge broker and global advocate for Arctic topics. The Working Groups’ assessments have been instrumental in bringing Arctic issues to a global arena through policy recommendations and international cooperation.

Credit: Freepik/Flaticon
Recommendations

The strong knowledge base produced by the Arctic Council’s Working Groups and other subsidiary bodies feeds into recommendations for informed decision-making.

Iceland is the current chair of the Arctic Council.
Learn about chairmanship priorities

What's new?

Recent news

Arctic wetlands and biodiversity management: the fundamental role Indigenous peoples play

In the last three centuries, wetlands have reduced by 85% globally, three times faster than forests. Internationally, wetlands have lost 76% of their species over the las...
27 Oct 2020

Mercury and toxic cocktails effect the Arctic ecosystems, wildlife and human health – How to take action

Tackling mercury pollution is a priority for the Arctic Contaminants Action Program Working Group. Why is it an issue in the Arctic?
23 Oct 2020

Report on Heavy Fuel Oil in the Arctic launched

The Arctic Council's Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) issued its second Arctic Shipping Status Report – Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) U...
21 Oct 2020
See all

Events

October
November
11 Nov-12 Nov 2020
SAO Executive Meeting Online / Reykjavik
17 Nov-19 Nov 2020
SAO Plenary Meeting Online / Reykjavik
See all

@arcticcouncil

  • "If we don’t have a healthy ocean, we don’t have healthy fish & consequently we don’t have healthy communities. A clean ocean doesn't only require clean water, it needs clean lands through which the water flows." - Chief Gary of Arctic Athabaskan Council: ow.ly/sQbQ50C3AFm https://t.co/TOwMPYJrvr October 28 5:50 pm

Focus: Arctic biodiversity

Mitigation of black carbon and methane emissions from APG flaring in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation
A study on flaring of associated petroleum gas in the Russian Arctic shows that significant economic and environmental gains can be achieved if Best Available Technology (BAT) and Best Environmental P...
Overview
Photo: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP)
The CBMP is an international network of scientists, governments, Indigenous organizations and conservation groups working to harmonize and integrate efforts to monitor the Arctic's living resourc...
Overview
Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter
The Regional Action Plan will address both sea and land-based activities, focusing on Arctic-specific marine litter sources and pathways that will play an important role in demonstrating Arctic States...
Overview
Marine Biodiversity Monitoring
Arctic marine environments are experiencing, or expected to experience, many human-induced and natural pressures.
Overview
Red Knots. Photo: Morten Ekker
Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI)
The Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI) is a project designed to improve the status and secure the long-term sustainability of declining Arctic breeding migratory bird populations.
Overview
Circumpolar Oil Spill Response Viability Analysis (COSRVA)
The COSRVA project investigates the potential of different oil spill response systems for the Arctic marine environment.
Overview