Arctic Council’s Working Group Approves Projects Promoting Sustainability

Photo: Genis Mikhail/

Arctic Council’s Working Group Approves Projects Promoting Sustainability

On 26-28 October 2021, the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) met in Moscow. The Group, established by the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Iqaluit (1998), is tasked to advance sustainable development in the Arctic and contribute to improving environmental, economic and social conditions of indigenous peoples and Arctic communities.

More than 170 people representing AC Member States, observers and indigenous NGOs took part in the session. With Russia presiding over the Arctic Council, the SDWG is chaired by an official from the Russian Far East and Arctic Ministry.

More than 20 various projects, many of which have been introduced by Russia, were presented to the SDWG delegates. Among such projects were those focused on improving resilience of Arctic communities, protecting Arctic architectural heritage, combating the COVID-19 pandemic, digitization of the linguistic and cultural heritage of Arctic indigenous peoples, use of renewables and hydrogen energy in the Arctic, preschool and school education, gender equality, establishing an international mammoth center in Yakutia etc. In addition, Russian delegates informed their colleagues about plans to launch projects on fostering traditional medicine practiced by indigenous peoples of, and supporting creative industries in, the Arctic.

New initiatives were okayed by all AC Member States. Their implementation will help further integrate the sustainable development agenda into respective policies of the Arctic nations, along with pushing forward international cooperation in the High North. The unanimous approval of Russian initiatives by the SDWG proves that they are both significant and timely.

Many of these initiatives fall in line with the scope of work done by PORA. For instance, our expert center played a major role in designing an alphabet for the Enets, the last nonliterate indigenous people of the Russian Arctic. PORA is backing Guardians of the Arctic – a project aiming to promote the culture and arts of the indigenous peoples of the High North. As part of this project, an online marketplace for trading in Arctic goods will be launched. Another example is a book for children in the Russian and Dolgan languages recently published with PORA’s support.

Arctic Today is a column by PORA CEO Alexander Stotskiy analyzing major international, national and regional events and trends in the Arctic.
Alexander Stotskiy
3 November 2021
Arctic Today