Icelander Appointed as Director of Arctic Council

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Icelander Appointed as Director of Arctic Council

Icelandic Secretary General of the Ministry for the Environment Magnús Jóhannesson was yesterday appointed as first Director of the Arctic Council’s Secretariat at the meeting of Senior Arctic Officials in Haparanda, Sweden.

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Magnús Jóhannesson. Photo courtesy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Magnús was selected from a group of 36 candidates from seven of the eight member states of the Arctic Council, as stated in a press release from the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The Secretariat, the role of which is to strengthen the work of the Council and communication on Arctic issues, will be set up in Tromsø, northern Norway, next year and Magnús is expected to begin his work in February.

Magnús has worked as Secretary General of the Ministry for the Environment since 1992 and was previously the Director of the Icelandic Maritime Administration from 1985.

Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson congratulated Magnús. “Magnús has extensive experience working with the Arctic Council and I am positive that he will do an outstanding job building up the Council’s new Secretariat. His appointment is also a recognition of Iceland’s good work regarding Arctic affairs in recent years,” he said.

Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, approved a motion by Össur in March 2011 on Iceland’s policy on Arctic affairs, which emphasizes strengthening the work of the Arctic Council.

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