ⓘ Arctic Council. The Arctic Council is a high-level forum between governments. It addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of t ..

Arctic Council

ⓘ Arctic Council

The Arctic Council is a high-level forum between governments. It addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic. The Council is formed of eight countries: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. All of these countries have sovereignty over the lands within the Arctic Circle. There are also some observer states.

The Council was formed in 1996 by the Ottawa Declaration. It is designed to encourage cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic states. The Council meets every six months for a Senior Arctic Officials SAO meeting. Senior Arctic Officials are representatives of the member states. Every two years a Ministerial Meeting is held. A "Declaration" is produced at this meeting. It sums up the past work of the Council and its future plans.


1. Membership

The Council is made up of member and observer states, as well as Indigenous "permanent participants" and observer organizations.

Member states

To be a member, a state must have territory in the Arctic. The member states are:

  • Iceland
  • Sweden
  • Denmark; representing Greenland
  • Finland
  • United States
  • Russia
  • Canada
  • Norway

Observer states

Observer status is open to non-Arctic states. They must be approved by the Council at the Ministerial Meetings. Observers have no voting rights in the Council. Currently, thirteen non-Arctic states have observer status.

Current observer states are 2019:

  • Netherlands, 1998
  • China, 2013
  • Singapore, 2013
  • Poland, 1998
  • India, 2013
  • South Korea, 2013
  • Germany, 1998
  • Japan, 2013
  • Italy, 2013
  • Spain, 2006
  • United Kingdom, 1998
  • France, 2000
  • Switzerland, 2017
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