Senior Arctic Officials Advance Arctic Council Agenda
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The plenary addressed: the Council's work on black carbon and methane; adaptation to Arctic change, including the ‘Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic' project; Arctic biodiversity, including implementing recommendations in the 2013 ‘Arctic Biodiversity Assessment'; best practices for small communities to prevent, prepare for or respond to natural or human-caused accidents in the Arctic; the Council's work on the Arctic Ocean, including the ‘Arctic Marine Strategic Plan 2015-2025'; and follow-up work to the 'Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic.'

Arctic Council23 October 2015: The Senior Arctic Official’s meeting, which convened from 20-22 October 2015, in Anchorage, Alaska, brought together senior representatives from the eight Arctic States and the Permanent Participants (six organizations representing Arctic Indigenous peoples) to advance the work of the Arctic Council. The meeting was also the Council’s first plenary meeting under US Chairmanship (2015-2017).

“This meeting demonstrated the ability of the Arctic Council to bring together Arctic States, Arctic Indigenous representatives and a large number of Observers to work towards a safer, healthier and sustainable Arctic,” said Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials, Ambassador David Balton.

During the meeting, Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs) approved a white paper on safe operation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for scientific data collection in the Arctic, a collection of educational tool kits for children, and a decision to move the Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat from its present location in Copenhagen, Denmark, to Tromsø, Norway.

The plenary addressed: the Council’s work on black carbon and methane; adaptation to Arctic change, including the ‘Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic’ project; Arctic biodiversity, including implementing recommendations in the 2013 ‘Arctic Biodiversity Assessment’; best practices for small communities to prevent, prepare for or respond to natural or human-caused accidents in the Arctic; efforts to reduce suicide rates among Arctic Indigenous peoples; the Council’s work on the Arctic Ocean, including the ‘Arctic Marine Strategic Plan 2015-2025′; and follow-up work to the ‘Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic.’

Meeting participants also discussed: the Council’s work on climate change and oceans; the ways in which traditional and local knowledge is considered and used in the Council’s work; strengthening the Council’s work by defining how the Council relates to external bodies; and strengthening the capacity of the six Permanent Participant organizations to engage in the Council’s work.

Established in 1996, the Arctic Council promotes cooperation, coordination and interaction among Arctic states, Indigenous peoples and inhabitants on Arctic issues, including sustainable development and environmental protection. [Arctic Council Press Release] [Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic] [Arctic Biodiversity Assessment] [Arctic Marine Strategic Plan 2015-2025] [Educational Toolkits for Children]

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