© Andy Baltensperger / Arctic Council

Arctic Council Strategic Plan

This Strategic Plan was adopted in recognition of the Arctic Council’s 25th anniversary at the Council’s 12th Ministerial Meeting.

It reflects the shared values and joint aspirations of the Arctic States and the Permanent Participants, to advance sustainable development, environmental protection, and good governance in the Arctic.

Download the Arctic Council Strategic Plan

Goal 1 – Arctic Climate

Monitor, assess and highlight the impacts of climate change in the Arctic to encourage compliance with the Paris Agreement and support stronger global measures to reduce greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants, while strengthening circumpolar cooperation on: climate science and observations; reduction of emissions; climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience; and exchange of knowledge and innovative technologies in support of these efforts.

1.1 Accelerating effects of climate change

Enhance monitoring, assessment, predictions, and dissemination of data and information on the accelerating effects of climate change in the Arctic, within and across ecosystems and on livelihoods and economies, based on best available science and supported by community observations, traditional knowledge and local knowledge

1.2 Climate change considerations and biodiversity perspectives

Integrate climate change considerations and biodiversity perspectives in all relevant Arctic Council projects and policy recommendations

1.3 Stronger global mitigation efforts

Encourage stronger global mitigation efforts through providing an Arctic view, including Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives, to multilateral fora that address climate issues – drawing attention to the particular vulnerability of the region and to the effects of changing climate and urging the international community to invest efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement

1.4 Reduce greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants

Promote enhanced actions, within and beyond the Arctic, to reduce greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants in the Arctic environment, including through cooperation on reduction of emissions of black carbon and methane

1.6 Arctic meteorological observations and services

Encourage cooperation on enhancing Arctic meteorological observations and services in order to strengthen understanding of weather and climatic phenomena and changes in the Arctic and improve the safety of human activities in the region

Goal 2 – Healthy and Resilient Arctic Ecosystems

Promote pollution prevention, monitoring, assessment, conservation and protection of Arctic biodiversity, ecosystems and species habitats, based on best available science, and respecting the importance of sustainable development for all current and future generations of Arctic inhabitants.

2.1 Protection of the vulnerable Arctic ecosystems

Promote protection of the vulnerable Arctic ecosystems based on best available science and traditional knowledge and local knowledge, providing for conservation of biodiversity in the region, and supporting responsible use of its natural resources

2.2 Monitoring the state of the Arctic biodiversity and ecosystems

Encourage cooperation among Arctic States in monitoring the state of the Arctic biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as impacts of pollutants and other environmental stressors on environmental and human health, produce scientific assessments of status and trends, as well as action plans and guidelines, and utilizing traditional knowledge and local knowledge to continually improve understanding of relevant issues

2.3 Global fora that address pollution and other environmental issues

Promote cooperation among Arctic States in global fora that address pollution and other environmental issues relevant to the Arctic and encourage the Arctic States to provide Arctic views, including Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives, on issues relevant to the Arctic and its inhabitants

2.4 Pollutants and hazardous and radioactive substances

Encourage actions at all levels to address pollutants and hazardous and radioactive substances, that affect human health and the environment in the Arctic and raise Arctic inhabitants’ awareness of these issues as appropriate

2.5 Ecosystem approach to management

Promote action on issues that are critical to maintaining the health of Arctic ecosystems, as well as Arctic inhabitants, and encourage cooperation among Arctic States on ecosystem approach to management in the Arctic to advance conservation and sustainable use based on best available science

2.7 Conserving nature and biodiversity

Support international efforts on conserving nature and biodiversity and providing Arctic, including Indigenous, perspectives on such efforts

Goal 3 – Healthy Arctic Marine Environment

Promote conservation and sustainable use of the Arctic marine environment for the benefit of all current and future generations of Arctic inhabitants, encourage safety at sea, prevention of marine pollution and cooperate to improve knowledge of the Arctic marine environment, monitor and assess current and future impacts on Arctic marine ecosystems, work together to enhance cooperation on marine issues and promote respect for the rule of law and existing legal frameworks applicable to Arctic waters.

3.1 Arctic marine and coastal areas

Strengthen cooperation related to Arctic marine and coastal areas and promote conservation and sustainable use, taking into account science-based recommendations as well as traditional knowledge and local knowledge

3.2 Norms and standards that affect Arctic waters

Encourage cooperation among Arctic States on safe and sustainable shipping and other economic activities related to the Arctic marine environment and support development at appropriate levels of norms and standards that affect Arctic waters

3.3 SAR and MOSPA Agreements

Support the implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic (2011) and the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic (2013) in order to mitigate risks to safety of seafarers, human health and the Arctic environment

3.4 Governance of the Arctic marine environment

Promote respect for international law, including as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as the legal framework within which the governance of the Arctic marine environment must be carried out, while emphasizing the role and responsibility of the coastal states and contributing to wider global efforts in this regard

3.5 Health of the Arctic marine environment

Cooperate regionally on issues, critical to the health of the Arctic marine environment, support monitoring, and encourage ecosystem approach to management to advance conservation and sustainable use of Arctic marine resources.

Goal 4 – Sustainable Social Development

Enhance work aimed at social and cultural inclusion and at improving health, safety, resilience, and well-being of all Arctic inhabitants with a particular focus on Indigenous Peoples.

4.1 Health, safety and long-term well-being

Strengthen cooperation that improves the health, safety and long-term well-being of Arctic inhabitants in general and of its Indigenous Peoples in particular; and integrate social considerations into all relevant activities

4.2 Safety for all Arctic inhabitants and visitors

Continue to improve safety for all Arctic inhabitants and visitors by identifying and studying emerging natural and human-induced disaster risks, and developing prevention, preparedness, response and mitigation measures that seek to limit adverse environmental, social and economic impacts

4.3 Public health

Continue to promote public health through work dedicated to preventive measures and high-quality health care, adapted to and suitable for the region and its cultures and demography in terms of specific challenges, addressing in particular mental health and elevated suicide risk in many Arctic communities

4.4 Communicable diseases, epidemics and pandemics

Enhance work on communicable diseases, epidemics and pandemics, focusing on Arctic conditions, in order to identify preventive and response measures appropriate for the Arctic and its inhabitants

4.5 Gender equality and non-discrimination

Promote gender equality and non-discrimination in the Arctic with the aim of contributing to sustainability and balanced participation in leadership and decision making both in the public and private sectors

4.6 Engagement with youth

Encourage meaningful engagement with youth across the Arctic in a manner that can both support and inform the Council’s work and empower Arctic youth

4.7 Quality, culturally appropriate education

Promote quality, culturally appropriate education for all Arctic inhabitants, including in cooperation with educational institutions in the Arctic region, the University of the Arctic and other relevant organizations

4.8 Arctic Indigenous Peoples

Promote respect for Arctic Indigenous Peoples, taking due note of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and encourage participation in the United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032)

Goal 5 – Sustainable Economic Development

Advance cooperation on sustainable and diverse economic development in the Arctic, promote economic cooperation, knowledge and information sharing on innovative, sustainable and low-emission technologies, for the benefit and increased resilience of all Arctic inhabitants with a particular focus on Indigenous Peoples.

5.1 Favorable conditions for sustainable investments

Enhance cooperation on development and promotion of favorable conditions for sustainable investments and economic activities in the Arctic

5.2 Vibrant and healthy Arctic communities

Continue to encourage sustainable development of low emission Arctic economies, including in cooperation with relevant fora, in order to build vibrant and healthy Arctic communities for present and future generations

5.4 Clean technology, innovation and circular economy

Support and encourage the transition towards sustainable and low-emission societies, including through the use of clean technology, innovation and circular economy

5.5 Align sustainable economic development with traditional ways of living

Seek to align sustainable economic development with traditional ways of living respecting the rights, cultures and history of the Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic

5.6 Environmentally and culturally sustainable tourism

Promote responsible and integrated approaches to resource development in the Arctic, including the development of environmentally and culturally sustainable tourism

5.7 Physical and digital connectivity

Continue to address the issue of physical and digital connectivity as a crosscutting theme and an important prerequisite for sustainable socio-economic development, transport, search and rescue and other activities in the Arctic

Goal 6 – Knowledge and Communications

Generate, collect, analyze and communicate science, and traditional knowledge and local knowledge, as appropriate, and enhance understanding of the Arctic within and beyond the region to inform policy shaping and decision making.

6.2 Co-production of knowledge

Promote co-production of knowledge, based on different knowledge systems, where science, traditional knowledge and local knowledge are valued and utilized, as appropriate, to inform policy shaping and decision making relevant to Arctic people and their communities

6.3 Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation

Promote scientific and Arctic research cooperation and encourage public access to, and sharing of, Arctic relevant data, including through the implementation of the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation (2017)

6.4 Best available science

Use best available science to make targeted and concrete policy-level recommendations that inform the work of decision-makers and that are relevant to Arctic peoples and their communities

6.6 Strategic communications

Utilize strategic communications tools and mechanisms to enhance awareness of the work of the Council, both within the Arctic region and beyond as appropriate

Goal 7 – Stronger Arctic Council

Strengthen the Arctic Council as the pre-eminent high-level circumpolar forum for effective coordination and cooperation, and enhance its ability to efficiently respond to emerging challenges and opportunities in the Arctic.

7.1 Peace, stability, and constructive cooperation in the Arctic

Maintain its commitment to peace, stability, and constructive cooperation in the Arctic, and continue to promote respect for the international legal framework that supports responsible governance relevant to the Arctic region

7.2 Working methods, organization and structure

Review its working methods, organization and structure, and update as needed to position the Council to successfully implement this Strategic Plan; align work plans and activities among and between the Working Groups and other subsidiary bodies as well as with this Strategic Plan; and solidify the identity of the Council as a whole

7.5 Financing of the Arctic Council

Review the financing of the Arctic Council, including the Arctic Council Secretariat, the Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat and the secretariats of the Working Groups, and assess the need for further development of project financing

7.6 Constructive, balanced, and meaningful Observer engagement

Enhance constructive, balanced, and meaningful Observer engagement and encourage their proactive engagement in relevant activities of the Council

7.7 Arctic Coast Guard Forum and Arctic Economic Council

Enhance and further promote cooperation with relevant public and private bodies, including the Arctic Coast Guard Forum and the Arctic Economic Council, as well as international and intergovernmental institutions and initiatives reflecting the interconnectedness between the Arctic and the rest of the world

7.8 Mid-term review of the Strategic Plan in 2025 and an end term review in 2030

Carry out a mid-term review of the Strategic Plan in 2025 and an end term review in 2030.