Review of Working Group Operating Guidelines – SAO tasking October 2014 (DRAFT).

At their meeting in Yellowknife, October 2014, the Senior Arctic Officials tasked the Arctic Council Secretariat as follows: “All WGs had submitted revised operating guidelines for the meeting and SAOs tasked the ACS to review the six sets of operating guidelines, as submitted, to ensure that they are consistent with the Arctic Council Rules of Procedure and with each other. The operating guidelines were provisionally approved while the ACS completes its analysis.” This analysis will 1) review the compliance of the provisionally operating guidelines of the six working groups with the Arctic Council Rules of Procedures1 (ROP) and 2) assess the consistency of the six sets of guidelines, focusing on what they regulate and how they regulate it. When reading this analysis, it worth noting that the AC working groups have been established at different times, with different tasks, and with differing supporting structures. Some working groups predate the establishment of the Council itself and have their own well-established secretariats with different sizes and capacities (secretariat staff ranges from 1 to 7 people). The analysis should not be construed as offering any policy recommendation to SAOs. Consistency of guidelines has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include: transparency; greater ease for internal and external stakeholders (such as observers) who wish to engage in the work of the Council; simplification of SAO oversight and the process of amending guidelines. The disadvantages relate to the established working practices of six materially different working groups with established procedures.