The Outcome of the Ninth Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting

05-05-2015

The ministerial meeting in Iqaluit, Nunavut (Canada), closed Canada's two-year Arctic Council (AC) chairmanship. Arctic cooperation seems relatively unaffected by the poor state of Russia's relations with the West. Canada invested much in its AC Chairmanship, but its deliverables have been less significant than those of previous chairs. Canada's two main achievements are the Arctic Economic Council and the framework for action on black carbon and methane. The framework is only a step in the right direction, not a full agreement. The programme of the new AC chair, the USA, has the potential to enhance practical cooperation between the EU and the AC. As Canada and the EU had resolved their differences, it seemed possible that the EU would at last receive formal observer status to the Council at the Iqaluit meeting, but Russia's geostrategic interests led Moscow to block the process. Given the growing number of observers, the US chair may propose that only one third of observers join high-level AC meetings under any one chair.

The ministerial meeting in Iqaluit, Nunavut (Canada), closed Canada's two-year Arctic Council (AC) chairmanship. Arctic cooperation seems relatively unaffected by the poor state of Russia's relations with the West. Canada invested much in its AC Chairmanship, but its deliverables have been less significant than those of previous chairs. Canada's two main achievements are the Arctic Economic Council and the framework for action on black carbon and methane. The framework is only a step in the right direction, not a full agreement. The programme of the new AC chair, the USA, has the potential to enhance practical cooperation between the EU and the AC. As Canada and the EU had resolved their differences, it seemed possible that the EU would at last receive formal observer status to the Council at the Iqaluit meeting, but Russia's geostrategic interests led Moscow to block the process. Given the growing number of observers, the US chair may propose that only one third of observers join high-level AC meetings under any one chair.