On Tuesday, September 8, 2015 together with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) raised their flag in Tromsø, Norway symbolizing the establishment and opening of their permanent secretariat office.

Speaking to a crowd of international dignitaries, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende, spoke of the importance of international cooperation, “if we are going to make the High North our most innovative region, we are dependent upon cooperation with others.” Opening the event Mayor of Tromsø, Jens Johan Hjort stated that it was “with a great sense of privilege and recognition, Tromsø today officially becomes host city for a new important Arctic stakeholder!”

AEC chair, and Alaska Native, Tara Sweeney, said, “Today marks the placeholder along the timeline of Arctic history to where our member states can pinpoint as the start to a new way of doing business in the Arctic.”

Speaking about regional development and non-Arctic interests, Sweeney explained, “Arctic residents, communities and businesses should not be viewed as mere tools to achieve an organizational goal, but rightly viewed as experts and potential partners. This way, the AEC way, will stand on the principles of collaboration, partnership, innovation and peace.”

Photo: Ingun Melhus