The Arctic Economic Council was formally established at its founding meeting September 2-3 in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. Representatives from the business sectors of all eight Arctic Council States as well as from the six Permanent Participants, took part in this first meeting. Iceland has nominated two representatives to the Arctic Economic Council.
Foreign Minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson has welcomed the launching of the AEC: "Icelandic businesses have shown considerable and increasing interest in emerging opportunities in the arctic, with regard to tourism, transportation, contractors and responsible development of natural resources”. He added: “The new Council will no doubt play an important role in strengthening the economic cooperation between the states in the region and create a framework, facilitating matters for all those who are ready to participate, including Icelandic businesses".
The preparations for the founding of the Arctic Economic Council have been on-going for the past year, as the Arctic States and Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations of the Arctic Council and respective businesses have worked together to facilitate the establishment of the this forum, with the aim to create a venue where business can prosper and natural resources can be harnessed responsibly
The Arctic Economic Council is an independent body, with the overall aim to foster sustainable and responsible development, including economic growth, as well as positive human development in the Arctic and ensure stable, predictable and transparent business environment. The AEC will determine number of council members, governing board and form of governing.