Overview of Arctic Council Priorities and Activities. Presented to the European Commission in connection with the development of the Northern Dimension Action Plan 2004-2006 in February 2003.
Arctic Council Secretariat
"The Arctic Council is a regional forum providing the circumpolar region with a voice in the international community. It is a forum for sustainable development, mandated to address all three of its main pillars; the environmental, social and economic. It involves national Governments, indigenous peoples, regional authorities, scientific experts and civil society. The scope of the Arctic Council’s activities is circumpolar. Other organizations also include parts of the Arctic region in their activities. Parts of the European Union’s Northern Dimension “area” is Arctic. In the European Union’s Presidency’s conclusions of the Ministerial Conference on the future of the Northern Dimension policies, in Luxemburg 21 October 2002, the Arctic is defined as a cross-cutting theme within the Northern Dimension. The Guidelines from the Luxemburg Ministerial conference emphasize the variety and richness of cooperation throughout the Northern Dimension and the importance of building on the division of labour and coordination among the existing organizations, such as the Arctic Council. It is also stated that the new Action Plan should give adequate responses to problems and challenges of the northernmost regions of the Northern Dimension area, particularly of the Arctic. With this in mind, Iceland, in its capacity as Chair of the Arctic Council offers in this document a closer look at the Arctic Council’s priorities. It is hoped that the overview can serve the mutual interests of the Arctic Council and the European Union in pursuing further cooperation in the fields mentioned. To facilitate the reading in the context of the drafting of the Northern Dimension Action Plan, specific references are made to the Guidelines for the new Action Plan where the same or similar priorities exist in the work plans of the Arctic Council."