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Together Towards a Sustainable Arctic

The theme of the Arctic Council Chairmanship program for 2019-2021 reflects Iceland’s commitment to the principle of sustainable development and refers to the necessity of close cooperation between the states and peoples of the region and beyond.

Sustainable development and protection of the Arctic environment have been at the core of the Arctic Council’s mandate since its foundation in 1996. With rapid environmental changes underway, its role has become ever more important. 

Temperatures in the Arctic continue to rise at more than twice the global annual average. Rising temperatures accelerate the melting of snow and ice and affect the Arctic’s interconnected ecosystems in direct and indirect ways, with various economic and social implications for Arctic communities. 

Effective mitigation and adaptation strategies are needed to address the adverse impacts of Arctic climate change. The Arctic States and their partners must also ensure that new economic activities made possible by the decline of sea ice will be pursued in a sustainable manner. Balance must be sought between the three pillars of sustainable development – economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.

Iceland’s Chairmanship

In partnership with the other Member States and Permanent Participants, the Chairmanship will continue supporting many ongoing activities of Working Groups and other subsidiary bodies, as well as introducing a number of new projects in the Arctic Council work plan for 2019-2021. 

With sustainable development as an overarching theme, Iceland will highlight four priorities: The Arctic Marine Environment, Climate and Green Energy Solutions, People and Communities of the Arctic, and a Stronger Arctic Council.

Iceland is honored to assume Chairmanship of the Arctic Council for the second time and welcomes the opportunity to contribute to strengthened Arctic cooperation.

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