The first meeting of the Sustainable Development Working Group during Iceland’s Arctic Council Chairmanship brought together around 70 participants in Reykjavik and Ísafjörður on 10-12 September, representing the eight Arctic Council Member States, Permanent Participants and Observers. The meeting also saw strong participation from Arctic youth who were invited to take part in discussions on the results of the thematic conference “Strengths, Well-Being and Engagement of Youth in the Arctic” that was held in Reykjavík on 10 September.
The meeting adopted four proposals for SDWG projects: Arctic Remote Energy Networks II; EALLU - Arctic Indigenous Youth, Climate Change and Food Culture; Blue Bioeconomy in the Arctic Region; and Local 2 Global - Circumpolar Collaboration for Suicide Prevention and Mental Wellness. Further information on these projects will be made available on the SDWG website.
In addition to traditional proceedings, the working group representatives visited local companies under guidance from the Mayor of Ísafjörður, Guðmundur Gunnarsson, and the Director of the University Centre of the Westfjords, Peters Weiss. Attendees visited the social entrepreneurial initiative Blábankinn in Þingeyri and fish processing company Íslandssaga in Suðureyri, which has worked with other companies in the region on linking together tourism and local businesses. Last, but not least, the group visited innovation company Kerecis in Ísafjörður, which is leading in the field of the Blue BioEconomy.
During Iceland’s two-year tenure, a series of regular meetings and events will take place all over the country. Further information on the Icelandic Arctic Council Chairmanship can be found on government.is/arctic and on Twitter, @IcelandArctic.