The Arctic Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Arctic Economic Council in Rovaniemi, Finland, today. The aim of the MoU is to provide a framework for cooperation and to facilitate collaboration between the Arctic Council and the Arctic Economic Council. The MoU was signed by Nina Buvang Vaaja, Director of the Arctic Council Secretariat, and Anu Fredrikson, Director of the Arctic Economic Council Secretariat.

6 May 2019, Rovaniemi, Finland. At the Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2017, the Ministers of the eight Arctic States encouraged the Arctic Council to strengthen its cooperation with the Arctic Economic Council. This could “enhance responsible economic development and […] build partnerships for issues of common interest and capacity building of Arctic inhabitants”, as the Ministers’ joint statement in the Fairbanks Declaration reads.

This cooperation has now been formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was signed by Nina Buvang Vaaja, Director of the Arctic Council Secretariat, and Anu Fredrikson, Director of the Arctic Economic Council Secretariat at the Ministerial welcome reception in Rovaniemi. It is the Arctic Council’s first Memorandum of Understanding and provides a framework on how the Arctic Council and the AEC can cooperate on their shared goals in future.

“The Arctic Council and the Arctic Economic Council share the common goal of safeguarding the well-being, safety and prosperity of all Arctic inhabitants, as well as of creating vibrant, sustainable regional economies in a changing Arctic environment. The Memorandum of Understanding is an important step towards enhancing our collaboration on achieving these goals”, says Nina Buvang Vaaja.

“One of our ambitions at the Arctic Economic Council is to provide advice and a business perspective to the work of the Arctic Council. We therefore are looking forward to collaborating closer with the Arctic Council on topics related to sustainable economic development, blue economy, improved connectivity and capacity building – amongst others”, Anu Fredrikson states.

During the Finnish Chairmanship (2017-2019) the cooperation between the Arctic Council and the AEC has developed. The AEC was engaged in the Arctic Council’s Task Force on Improved Connectivity in the Arctic, giving industry-related insights and input for improving communication infrastructures in the North. A representative of the AEC also participated in the “Good Practice Recommendations for Environmental Impact Assessment and Public Participation in EIA in the Arctic”, a project carried out by the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group.

The Arctic Economic Council (AEC) was established during Canada’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2013-2015). It is an independent organization that aims at facilitating Arctic business-to- business activities and responsible economic development. Its members include corporations, businesses, partnerships and indigenous groups that have an economic interest in the Arctic.

In the MoU both parties agree to regularly exchange information, to participate in each other’s projects and to consider joint activities where appropriate. The focal points to coordinate the cooperation are the Secretariats of the Arctic Council and the AEC – both are located in Tromsø, Norway.