The Arctic Council’s permanent secretariat was established in Tromsø, Norway, on Monday when Norwegian foreign minister Espen Barth Eide and director of the secretariat Magnús Jóhannesson, who is Icelandic, signed a host country agreement between Norway and the Arctic Council.
The secretariat will be responsible for communication, general meeting preparations and coordination for the Council and working group relations. The establishment of the permanent secretariat is considered by the Council as a significant step in strengthening its work in global discussions and decision-making.
According to a press release from the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the establishment of the permanent secretariat is a top priority in Iceland’s Arctic policy. Magnús was appointed director of the secretary in November last year.
Iceland’s Minister for Industries and Innovation Steingrímur J. Sigfússon attended the ceremony along with his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt and Canada’s Minister of the Arctic Council Leona Aglukkaq.
Ministers, experts and media representatives were among those to attend the Arctic Frontiers conference, also in Tromsø this week, with Steingrímur giving a keynote speech at a session entitled ‘Marine Production in a Changing Arctic.’
Iceland is one of eight Arctic Council Member States: Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States make up the remaining seven.
November 11 | Icelander Appointed as Director of Arctic Council