Arctic council

The Arctic Council is a major intergovernmental forum to increase cooperation, coordination and response among Arctic countries, indigenous communities of the Arctic, and other Arctic residents towards common Arctic issues in the Arctic region, particularly sustainable development and environmental security in the Arctic region.

The Arctic Council acts as a consensus-based body to deal with issues such as changes in biodiversity, melting of sea ice, plastic pollution and black carbon.

History of arctic council

  • The origins of the creation of the Arctic Council are found in the establishment of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) ie the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy 1991 as a framework for intergovernmental cooperation on environmental protection initiatives between Arctic countries, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the United States.
  • The AEPS tried to consult and attract the indigenous people of the Arctic by recognizing their authority over their ancestral homeland.
  • The three indigenous peoples’ organizations (IPOs) that represent the Inuit (Inuit Circumpolar Council-ICC), the Sami (Sami Council-SC) and the Russian Indigenous Peoples (Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North-RAIPON), respectively Included in (AEPS).
  • As a result of increasing recognition of the indigenous peoples’ specific relationship in the Arctic region, the Arctic countries gave the three indigenous peoples organizations a special level of permanent partners, thus giving them a privileged level compared to other AEPS observers.

Arctic Council Structure

arctic countries
arctic countries

The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental body established by the Ottawa Declaration in 1996 to increase cooperation, coordination and response between the Arctic countries as well as the indigenous communities of the Arctic and other Arctic inhabitants.

  • The Council consists of eight polar countries as a member state and has the mandate to protect the Arctic environment and promote the economy and social and cultural welfare of indigenous people whose organizations are permanent partners in the Council.
  • Arctic Council Secretariat: Standing Arctic Council formally operated in 2013 in Tromsø, Norway.
  • It was established to provide administrative support to the Arctic Council, institutional recall, enhancement of communication and general support to the activities of this council.
  • The council consists of members, ad hoc observer countries and ‘permanent partners’.
  • Members of the Arctic Council: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States are members of the Arctic in the Ottawa Declaration.
  • Permanent Partners: In 1998 the number of permanent partners doubled to six at present as the Elute International Association (AIA), and then in the year 2000 appointed Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC) and Gwich’in Council International (GGI) as permanent members. Gone.
  • Supervisor Level: It is open to non-Arctic countries as well as inter-governmental, inter-parliamentary, global, regional and non-regional organizations, which the Council chooses to contribute to its work. Their approval is given by the council in a ministerial meeting which takes place every two years.
  • The supervisors of the Arctic Council make their contribution primarily to the working group level in the Council. He has no franchise in the council.
  • As of May 2019, these 13 non-Arctic countries had observer status – Germany 1998, Netherlands 1998, Poland 1998, England 1998, France 2000, Spain 2006, China 2013, India 2013, Italy 2013, Japan 2013, South Korea 2013, Singapore joined the country as observer in 2013 and Switzerland 2017.

Criteria for admission of supervisors

arctic council
arctic council

In determining the suitability of the council for an applicant’s supervisor level, the council shall take into account, among other things, the extent to which the supervisor:

  • Accepts and supports the objectives of the Arctic Council as defined in the Ottawa Declaration.
  • The sovereignty of the Arctic state in the Arctic region recognizes sovereign rights and jurisdiction.
  • That is why India has officially recognized the territorial jurisdiction and sovereign rights of the Arctic countries.
  • It recognizes that a comprehensive statutory structure applies to the Arctic Ocean, including prominently the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and this structure provides a solid foundation for the responsible management of this ocean.
  • India has also accepted the law of the sea as a means of administration of the Arctic, stating that the jurisdiction over the continental strip and both seaways and marine resources will predominantly be held by these eight Arctic countries.
  • Respect the values, interests, culture and tradition of the indigenous people of the Arctic and other Arctic inhabitants.
  • Demonstrated political willingness to contribute to the actions of permanent partners and other Arctic indigenous people as well as financial prowess.
  • Demonstrated expertise in the Arctic Council’s works and interest in the Arctic.
  • Demonstrated solid interest in the Arctic Council and support for the Council’s actions, including engaging with member states and permanent partners to address Arctic concerns with global policy making bodies.
arctic region
arctic region

Procedure of council

The council functions mainly in six working groups:

  • Arctic Contaminant Action Program (ACAP): It acts as a vigorous and supportive system to encourage national actions in reducing emissions and release of other pollutants. Arctic
  • Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP): It monitors the Arctic environment, ecosystem and human population and provides scientific advice to help governments deal with the adverse effects of pollution and climate change.
  • Arctic Flora and Fauna Conservation Working Group (CAFF): It works for the conservation of Arctic biodiversity by ensuring the sustainability of Arctic bioresources.
  • Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response Working Group (EPPR): It works to protect the Arctic environment from the impact or danger of accidentally released pollutants or radionuclides.
  • Arctic Marine Environmental Defense (PAME) Working Group: This is the focal point of the activities of the Arctic Council which is concerned with the protection and sustainable use of the Arctic marine environment. Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG): It works for sustainable development in the Arctic region and improving the condition of Arctic communities as a whole.

Council Functions

  • The Arctic Council’s assessments and recommendations are the result of analyzes and efforts by working groups.
  • Decisions of the Arctic Council are made by consensus among the eight Arctic countries as well as with full consultation and participation from permanent partners.
  • The presidency of the Arctic Council moves between the Arctic countries every two years.
  • Canada (1996–1998) was the first country to hold the post of president of the Arctic Council.
  • The country currently holding the post of president is Iceland (2019-2021).

Arctic Council Achievements

  • The Arctic Council regularly presents comprehensive, pioneering environmental, ecological and social assessments by its working groups.
  • The council has provided a forum to negotiate three legally binding three important agreements between the eight Arctic countries:

1.The Cooperation Agreement on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic was signed at the 2011 Ministerial Meeting in New York, Greenland.

2. Cooperation Agreement on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic, signed at the 2013 Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna, Sweden.

3.The agreement to increase international Arctic scientific cooperation was signed at the 2017 Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska.

India and the Arctic

  • India started its first scientific expedition to the Arctic Ocean in the year 2007 and in July 2008 at the International Arctic research base Ni-Alesund, Svalbard, Norway, a research base ‘Himadri’ studied in glacial science, atmospheric science and biological science subjects. Opened for
  • The major objectives of Indian research in the Arctic region are:
  • To study the envisaged tele-connection between the Arctic climate and the Indian monsoon by analyzing the sedimentary and basic records of Arctic glaciers and the Arctic Ocean.
  • Introducing the characteristics of sea ice in the Arctic to estimate the effect of global temperature in the North Polar region using satellite data.
  • To conduct research on the dynamics and mass balance of Arctic glaciers, focusing on the effect of glaciers on sea level changes.
  • To make a comprehensive assessment of their response to Arctic flora and fauna and human centered activities. Additionally, a comparative study of life forms in both polar regions is proposed.
  • India is paying close attention to the activities of the Arctic region in the light of new opportunities and challenges arising for the international community due to the global temperatures arising from the melting of Arctic ice.
  • The Arctic region of India has scientific, environmental, commercial as well as strategic interests.
  • In July 2018, the Ministry of Earth Sciences changed the name of ‘National Antarctic and Ocean Research Center’ to ‘National Polar and Ocean Research Center’.
  • It is a nodal organization that coordinates the research activities of centers at the poles.
  • India has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Norwegian Polar Research Institute of Norway for cooperation in science, as well as for maintenance and infrastructure facilities with Kings Bay (a Norwegian government-owned company) in Ni-Alesund. So that Arctic research can be carried out and the Indian research base in the Arctic region can be overseen.
  • India has been re-elected as an observer in the Council in 2019.
  • India has no official Arctic policy and its Arctic research aims to focus on ecological and environmental aspects with focus on climate change so far.

Business and strategic interests

  • The Arctic region is very rich in minerals and oil and gas. The melting of the Arctic due to global temperatures is likely to open new shipping routes which will reduce the current distance.
  • Activities are continuing in the countries‘ Arctic Hope Project with the hope of making a claim in the commercial exploitation of the natural resources present in the region.
  • The Arctic Council does not prohibit commercial exploitation of resources in the Arctic. It only ensures that this work is done in a sustainable manner without harm to the interests of local people in harmony with the local environment.
  • Arctic Council prohibits commercial exploitation of resources in the Arctic

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