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Arctic cooperation

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. After Russia the Chairmanship was shifted to Norway in May 2023.  However in March 2022, the seven other states of the Arctic Council announced they would suspend their participation in the activities of the Council. It’s still to be seen how the cooperation of the Council will continue with Norway now leading the process.

The themes of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s participation in the Arctic Council have been 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 have been the following:

  • gender equality
  • 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

The health impacts of black carbon and methane have also emerged as 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. 

Further information

Päivi Karvinen, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, International Affairs Unit (KVY) Telephone:0295163196   Email Address: