The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and inter-action among the Arctic states, Arctic indigenous communities and other people in the Arctic region. The cooperation focuses particularly on sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic region.
Finland held the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council from 2017 to 2019. The Chairmanship is held by Russia from 2021 to 2023. In March 2022, the seven other states of the Arctic Council announced they would suspend their participation in the activities of the council. The future of the Arctic Council’s activities is unclear.
The themes of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s participation in the Arctic Council are mainly related to the themes of the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) and the Arctic Human Health Expert Group (AHHEG) under it. The main themes are as follows:
- health risks and the multisectoral One Health approach (according to which human health and animal health are connected to each other and the environment)
- mental wellness and suicide prevention
- gender equality
- occupational health and safety.
The health impacts of black carbon and methane have also emerged as important items on the Arctic agenda.
Organisations representing indigenous communities, which are Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council, have an internationally exceptionally strong position on the Arctic Council. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and Finland, support the strong participation of indigenous peo-ples in the work of the Arctic Council.