Co-chairs: Sarah Kalhok Bourque (Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada)
Maya Gold (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
Carolina Caceres (Environment and Climate Change Canada)
The Arctic Council is the leading multilateral forum for circumpolar cooperation focused on issues related to environmental protection and sustainable development. It brings together 8 Arctic States, 6 Indigenous organizations (known as Permanent Participants) and numerous Observer countries and organizations through a suite of working groups, task forces, expert groups and projects, to gather information, assess, better understand, and ultimately act upon a wide range of Arctic issues. The Arctic Council provides a source of timely and relevant scientific and policy reports on issues of importance to both regional and global discussions, incorporating Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge, and providing a basis for action and decision making. This session invites relatively high-level presentations on the contributions of work carried out under the Arctic Council that is contributing to our understanding of major issues facing the Arctic, as well as reflections on process and impacts on decision-making and for the lives of Northerners, with particular emphasis on the major activities and accomplishments under the 2017-2019 Finnish Chairmanship, and on work under way under the Icelandic Chairmanship (2019-2021). This includes international assessments, projects and reports carried out by Arctic Council Working Groups such as AMAP, CAFF, PAME, SDWG, and others, each of which represents a major undertaking, bringing together scientific leaders and/or other key experts from several countries, organizations and institutions to collaboratively synthesize the latest information to provide a comprehensive understanding of major issues of concern throughout the Arctic, including on climate change, adaptation, contaminants, biodiversity, health and more. What are the key findings of these international assessments/projects and their recommendations, and how has our understanding of certain issues advanced as a result? How does the Council leverage international partners to address emerging global challenges (e.g. marine plastic litter) affecting the Arctic? Is the work of the Arctic Council and its evidence-based advice and recommendations reaching decision-makers in Canada and beyond, bridging the science to policy gap, and resulting in concrete actions? Has the Council had success in bringing Arctic matters to the attention of the broader public? How relevant is its work to northern Indigenous people here in Canada?