First Senior Arctic Officials’ Plenary Meeting Hosted by Russia

Photo: Beloturova Irina/

First Senior Arctic Officials’ Plenary Meeting Hosted by Russia

On 1-2 December 2021, the first Senior Arctic Officials’ plenary meeting during the Russian Chairmanship was held in a hybrid format in Salekhard, Yamal. Russia hosted around 180 delegates from the eight Arctic States, six Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations, six Working Groups of the Arctic Council, and 38 observer organizations and nations.

The meeting focused on the ongoing and new projects implemented within the Council’s framework, climate change impact on indigenous peoples in the Arctic, business cooperation in high latitudes etc. Here are the top takeaways from the meeting:

  • Enhancing cooperation between Arctic regions and people, especially indigenous peoples, is one of the actions outlined in the Council’s Strategic Plan and a priority of the Russian Chairmanship. Delegates agreed on an extended events program involving indigenous communities from across the Arctic and featuring a series of special reports that will highlight both challenges and best practice examples from Arctic regions.
  • Six Arctic Council’s Working Groups together with the Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane showcased their ongoing and emerging projects. These projects aim to address cross-cutting issues in the Arctic, including wildfires, climate change impacts on Arctic ecosystems, thawing permafrost, assessing emerging threats (such as zoonoses), health issues affecting indigenous peoples etc. The projects implemented under the aegis of the Working Groups are among the major driving engines of the Council’s practical work.
  • Representatives of the Arctic Council and the Arctic Economic Council held a special joint session dedicated to social and economic development in high latitudes. The two bodies were able to discuss the key areas of cooperation, including sustainable economic development, blue economy, maritime safety, as well as education and capacity building. Delegates emphasized the need to enhance opportunities for future collaboration in the High North while fully respecting the indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • Another important discussion item was promoting the participation of youth in the circumpolar dialogue and fostering sustainable and meaningful collaboration and engagement between youth and the Arctic Council. Young leaders who took the floor at the meeting outlined a series of youth-related Chairmanship events that will provide a platform for and facilitate a shared leadership paradigm within the Arctic context.
The Arctic Council carries on its work to further the circumpolar cooperation. The next Senior Arctic Officials’ plenary meeting will take place in Arkhangelsk, Russia in May 2022.

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 December 2021
Arctic Today