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  • Context (IE): The Arctic is warming four times faster than the global average, leading to the loss of sea ice and the thawing of permafrost.
  • The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic Indigenous Peoples, and other Arctic inhabitants.
  • It addresses the concerns related to the Arctic region, including sustainable development and safeguarding the environment in the Arctic region.
  • It was formally established in 1996 through the Ottawa Declaration.
  • The establishment was preceded by the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (June 1991), a declaration on protecting the Arctic environment.

Members of the Arctic Council

  • The eight Arctic States (whose territories fall in the Arctic region) are members of the Arctic Council.
  • These are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the US.
  • All Arctic Council decisions:
    • Require consensus of the eight Arctic States.
    • Happens in consultation with the permanent participants.

Members of the Arctic Council Members of the Arctic Council

Permanent Participants

  • Six organisations representing the indigenous people of the Arctic region have been granted the status of permanent participants.

Observer Status

  • The Observer status is granted to entities that support the objectives of the Arctic Council and have demonstrated capabilities, including the ability to make financial contributions.
  • Observers of the Arctic Council are:
    • Thirteen Countries, including India.
    • Thirteen intergovernmental and inter-parliamentary organisations
    • Twelve Non-governmental organisations.
  • India had been given the Observer status in 2013.

What doesn’t the Arctic Council do?

  • The Arctic Council cannot implement/enforce its guidelines, assessments, or recommendations. The responsibility belongs to individual Arctic States or international bodies.
  • The Arctic Council’s mandate excludes military security.
  • It has no programming budget. Arctic States sponsors all projects or initiatives. Some projects also receive support from other entities.
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