Canada welcomes Arctic Council leadership change

Norway to lead international organization in May when Russia’s two-year term ends

Arctic Council nations meet in May 2021. Norway will become chair of the council in May this year, taking on the role from the Russian Federation, which has held it from 2021-2023. (Screenshot courtesy of Arctic Council)

By Meral Jamal

Norway is set to take the helm of the Arctic Council from the Russian Federation, a move that’s being welcomed by Canada.

Russia has been the chair of the international organization since 2021 but was barred from meetings and projects after its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Norway will take over that position in May once the Russia’s term expires.

The council’s work was put on pause after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It resumed on a limited scale in June.

Canada has re-engaged with the council’s work “in projects that do not involve the Russian Federation,” Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Jean-Pierre J. Godbout said in an emailed statement.

“It is not and cannot be business as usual,” he said.

Established in 1996, the Arctic Council aims to strengthen co-operation, co-ordination and interaction among Arctic nations, Arctic Indigenous peoples and other Arctic inhabitants on common issues in the region.

In addition to Canada, members include the United States, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. As well, the Inuit Circumpolar Council is among six permanent participants representing Arctic Indigenous Peoples.



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