News Archive


2016 is the 20th anniversary of the Arctic Council. The Arctic Council, with its member states and indigenous peoples organizations known as Permanent Participants, was established in September 1996 in Ottawa, Canada where the Arctic states signed the founding Ottawa declaration creating the Council. In 2016 there will be different events celebrating twenty years of collaboration in the Arctic Council.

The Arctic Council is the only circumpolar body for political cooperation at government level where indigenous peoples are equal partners. It provides a forum for discussion between the eight Arctic states and representatives of indigenous peoples on issues of common interest. The Council promotes sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

According to the Ottawa declaration, the Indigenous Peoples´ Secretariat (IPS) established under the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) was to continue under the framework of the Arctic Council. In 2014 IPS celebrated it´s 20th anniversary. This important milestone was commemorated with a workshop as well as a celebratory dinner and evening program, which took place on 27 November at North Atlantic House in Copenhagen. The workshop part of the anniversary celebration focused on the theme “Building on indigenous achievements on the Arctic Council”. The workshop participants pointed to a common understanding that indigenous peoples´ accomplishments in the AEPS and Arctic Council had been significant over the twenty year period, and that the unique collaboration amongst permanent participants and Arctic states had contributed to a greater understanding and success.





The Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat in partnership with The Gordon Foundation (Canada) are organizing a Training Workshop for Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council. A desire for training opportunities was expressed by the IPS Board and is included in the 2015 Strategic Plan.

The Workshop will take place October 15-17, 2015 in Vancouver. Attached please find the agenda, which will focus on three themes:

(1)    A Refresher on the Arctic Council: History, Mandate, Structures, and Operating Procedures;

(2)    Effective Communications; and

(3)    Negotiation Skills.

Agenda for the workshop




The Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS) is requesting proposals for the development of a Business Plan and Marketing Strategy for the “Better Arctic Funding Mechanism”. Vendors may bid on both or the Business plan/Marketing plan separately.  

Vendors are requested to submit proposals electronically by October 9, 2015 to:

Executive Secretary

Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples´ Secretariat

Strandgade 91

DK-1016 Copenhagen K

Tel. +45 27 82 01 77

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


More info



An internship position is available at Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples´ Secretariat (IPS). The internship is for four-six months fall 2015, with an opportunity for extension pending on the needs of the Secretariat. Application deadline is August 10, 2015. More information about the IPS internship can be found here.

Ministers from eight Arctic states and leaders of Arctic Indigenous Peoples met on April 24, 2015 in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, marking the conclusion of Canada’s Arctic Council Chairmanship and the beginning of the United States’ Chairmanship. At the meeting, Ministers signed the Iqaluit Declaration 2015, which highlights the accomplishments of the Arctic Council during Canada’s Chairmanship (2013-2015) and guides the work of the Council under the Chairmanship of the United States (2015-2017). We will be posting the statements made by the Arctic Indigenous leaders on the occasion of the Ninth Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council.

Statement by Ms Áile Javo, President of the Saami Council

 Madam Chair, Ministers, Indigenous leaders, Observers, friends of the Arctic.

Saami Council would like to thank the Inuit of Inuit Nuunat, stretching from Chukotka in the Russian Federation, through US and Canada to Greenland for hosting the Ministerial meeting here in Iqaluit with Canada.

Madam Chair, I think we should take a moment to remind ourselves that we live in the Arctic in a time of peace and stability that enables us to gather here today to discuss the future development of the Arctic, our joint homeland.

The representatives around this table represent the generation that has seen the cold war come to an end. The Saami Council has seen the relationship with our brothers and sisters in all countries flourish again after decades of separation. Since 1992, the Saami Council has worked in all the four countries the Saami people reside, Finland, Norway, Sweden and northwest Russia. Also the Arctic Council was developed during that time, as a cooperation that we feel is crucial for us. Most of the Permanent Participant organisations represent an indigenous people that reside in more than one country. In times of geopolitical instability, and changing economies, the indigenous peoples’ communities will be the first to be negatively affected. Our pledge to you all is that we need to safeguard the unique work of the Arctic Council. We need to continue to cooperate as one Arctic family learning from each other and respecting each other. That is our responsibility and is important for sustainable development and well-being of all. Saami Council welcomes the continuous efforts in the Arctic Council to promote mental well-being and resilience in Arctic communities. Mental well-being and suicide represent serious challenges in some Saami communities and is a concern especially raised by our youth. Saami people hold different world views and approaches to mental health issues. These needs to be recognized by the public health care systems. We expect that the countries where Saami people reside provide adequate and culturally appropriate health care. The Saami national centre for mental health in Norway, SANKS, represents a good model here. Saami Council cooperates with them aiming to expand their service across the borders to cover the whole Saami area. Furthermore, we now build on their experiences to develop a plan for suicide prevention that recognises the Saami perspectives and we welcome cooperation with the Governments in this regard. Madam Chair, promotion of mental well-being and suicide prevention initiatives is about repairing damage already caused.

The recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples’, our traditional knowledge, as well as consultations are essential for the protection of our cultures, livelihoods and natural resources. By safeguarding the basis for our lives we will be better able to further develop to transfer a vital culture to future generations. The Saami culture depends on healthy and productive ecosystems, and the Saami Council is therefore deeply concerned about the plans in Norway to dispose tailings and chemical wastes from mining in a Saami fjord, a vulnerable Arctic environment. A prosperous future for our youth, control of our own destinies, a healthy environment and recognition and practice of our human rights will in itself promote our well-being. It is then, and only then, that an opportunity can be an opportunity for all.

In conclusion, Madame Chair, the Saami Council underlines that knowledge and the respect for various ways of knowing is the foundation for policy development and decision making. We believe that neither science nor traditional knowledge alone can provide the answers needed to face the impacts of Arctic change. The Arctic Council as a consensus-based model is instrumental in addressing these changes. A true strength of the model is that it requires that we really work to understand each other´s positions, perspectives and histories. Such understanding is decisive in order to maintain stability and cooperation in the Arctic. In the opposite case, Saami Council is worried that indigenous peoples will have to bear an uneven share of the burden, given the fact that we reside in more than one country. Our recollection of the time before the establishment of the Arctic Council points to this. The Saami Council congratulates the Canadian Chairmanship on its second turn of leadership of the Arctic Council and welcome the efforts in strengthening the Permanent Participants in the Council. We face a steadily increasing workload in the Arctic Council and in particular the Permanent Participants capacity to keep up with our priorities is challenged. We will remind all parties that it remains the responsibility of the member states to ensure adequate funding for its Permanent Participants. We need well-functioning and operative organisations at home in order to contribute meaningfully in the role as Permanent Participants.

Saami Council looks forward to the US chairmanship and holds great expectations for its program and priorities and we stand ready to further work and cooperation in the Arctic Council the coming years. Thank you for the attention, Madam Chair!

Photo: Saami Council



 Is held this week, March 17-19, 2015 in Whitehorse, Canada.


This workshop is a follow-up on the of the workshop on enhancing Permanent Participant capacity held on the margins of the Fall 2014 SAO meeting in Yellowknife, Canada.

The objective of the workshop is to develop a framework for a strategic plan for the advancement of PP capacity, including development of a common objective for the PPs in the pursuit of financial support for Arctic Council activities.


Representatives of the six Arctic indigenous organizations, funding agencies, some of the observers of the Arctic Council intend to develop short- and long term objectives and timelines to support the implementation of further work and a draft framework for the establishment of a PP Capacity Fund.


Like other funding within the Arctic Council, supporting the participation of Permanent Participants in the work of the Arctic Council is based on voluntary contributions of the Member States. Permanent Participants have also used their own means to support their work.



Venue: Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre, hitehorse, Canada

Facilitator: Ed Schultz

Jennifer Spence will write the report from the workshop

Tuesday, 17th March 2015

Overview of all previous work done regarding financial need of PP organizations – in camera session by Ed Schultz

Review/Edit draft Value and Impact of the Permanent Participant Fund - in camera session

Short presentations by the PPs on the conclusions from the part prior to lunch         

Presentations by invited experts:

  • Arctic Council Project Support Instrument (PSI) by Husamuddin Ahmadzai over Skype
  • A Capacity Fund within the framework of ACS/IPS by IPS Executive Secretary Elle Merete Omma
  • What options exists for establishing a charitable Capacity Fund and how can PPs effectively fundraise by Vice-President of Strategic Grant making David L. Secord Second, Tides Canada Foundation
  • What make a successful partnership between PPs and Foundations by Sara French, Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation

Wednesday, 18th March 2015

Discussion on what a Fund/Foundation could look like

1) What are our common objectives as PPs with respect to financial capacity?

How can we build on our common strengths/similarities?

How can we collaborate in areas where we have identified gaps?

  • 2) What could the PPs Capacity Fund look like?
  • What type of fund would be useful and supportive of PPs?
  • What is the vision of the fund?
  • What resources are out there to “fund the fund”?
  • How can we attract and engage potential funders? How will the fund interact and report to funders?
  • Why are we forming this organization?
  • Who will do the work?
  • What is the sustainability plan for the fund?
  • Who will serve on the board of directors?
  • How much administration and management do you wish to take on yourself or do you want to delegate?
  • What degree of control do you want over the funds?
  • What are the tax consequences?

Thursday, 19th March 2015

How can PPs engage better with funders/foundations?

  • How can PPs market themselves to funders/foundations?
  • What tools are needed for PPs to develop capacities in fundraising?
  • What are the best methods for engaging funders/foundations?
  • Next steps: toward the 2015 Arctic Council Ministerial
  • Preparation/discussion of draft workshop paper regarding a PP Capacity Fund
  • In-camera session for the Permanent Participants to summarize                   

Dinner Antoinette`s






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Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat
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