Iceland took over the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in early May. The first Senior Arctic Official’s (SAO) executive meeting under the Icelandic Chairmanship was held on 18-19 June in Reykjanesbær, Iceland. During Iceland’s two-year tenure, a series of regular meetings and events will take place all over the country.
In line with the Chairmanship priorities, the SAOs heard presentations on green energy solutions and the Blue Bioeconomy. Geothermal energy company HS Orka presented their renewable energy solutions and fish processors Haustak and Codland introduced their innovative work. Moreover, delegates sampled products from land-based aquaculture company Stolt Sea Farm. Kjartan Már Kjartansson, Mayor of Reykjanesbær, also introduced developments in the area including the Resource Park of the Suðurnes region.
The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. The Council holds Senior Arctic Officials’ meetings roughly every six months.
The Council is composed of eight Member States: Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States. In addition, six organizations representing Arctic indigenous peoples have status as Permanent Participants. Observer status is open to non-Arctic states and organizations that can contribute to the Council’s work in a meaningful way.