On March 31 at the Arctic Encounter Symposium in Anchorage, Alaska, the government of Norway presented its program for Norway’s upcoming Chairship of the Arctic Council. Norway will take over the Chairship from Russia on May 11 and will hold that role until 2025. The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the eight Arctic states and six Arctic Indigenous Peoples Organizations. Since March 2022, however, all official activities of the Council have been paused in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The program released by the Norwegian government today for its Chairship of the Council under these difficult circumstances identified four priority topics under an overall objective of promoting “stability and constructive cooperation” in the Arctic: oceans; climate and environment; sustainable economic development; and people in the North. During the presentation, Norway’s incoming Senior Arctic Official Morten Høglund emphasized Norway’s commitment to preserving the Arctic Council as a forum for cooperation on the most pressing shared Arctic challenges, including, conspicuously, the impacts of climate change. The Arctic region is warming three to four times faster than the global average rate, with severe consequences for Arctic communities and the global climate. In response, John Holdren, Co-Director of the Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, issued the following statement.
Holdren, John P. "Priorities for Norway’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council." Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Press Release, March 31, 2023.