Our work

The Arctic Economic Council’s Working Groups

The AEC’s Working Groups reflect the AEC selected business areas. Currently, the AEC has five Working Groups: Maritime Transportation, Responsible Resource Development, Connectivity, Investments & Infrastructure, and Energy.

The AEC’s work is based on the priorities set by the businesses forming the organization’s membership. The AEC will also consider the establishment of the following Working Groups in the future: Aviation, Tourism, Fishing and Other Marine Resources.

Brief work plan for the Working Groups:

  • Analyze the current business climate in the Arctic
  • Incorporate the five overarching themes of the AEC
  • Define actionable recommendations and variables that will raise the standard of economic development in the Arctic
  • Execute, report and review

The Maritime Transportation Working Group will examine issues and opportunities associated with shipping in the Arctic. Its membership consists of premier ship operators in the Arctic.

The Maritime Transportation Working Group’s work plan includes analyzing the national and international Arctic navigation rules and regulations and estimating whether there is a need for a possible harmonization; analyzing the hydrographic mapping status in the Arctic and defining the operators’ priorities; analysis of the current and future environmental regulations; and issues related to freedom of trade.

This Working Group is led by Mr. Mikko Niini.

Working group Fact Sheet

Terms of Reference  

Work Plan

The Arctic business and investment potential is remarkable. There are several already existing projects focusing on the mapping of this investment potential, such as Arctic Business Forum Yearbook, Arctic Maritime and Aviation Transportation Infrastructure Initiative, and Business Index North (BIN). In addition, some private stakeholders are engaged in the creation of an infrastructure inventory.

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Arctic Global Agenda Council published an Arctic Investment Protocol (AIP) with an intention to start a discussion and build a coalition around responsible investment in the Arctic. While the World Economic Forum’s Arctic Global Agenda Council ceased to exist in 2016, the Forum wanted to see the work on the AIP taken forward. The AEC decided to endorse the intent of the AIP at its Annual Meeting in 2017, and the AIP was transferred to the AEC later the same year. The role of the AEC includes continuing to build a coalition of support around the principles laid out in the AIP.

The AEC Working Group on Investments & Infrastructure (IIWG) will focus its work on the principles related to responsible investments in the Arctic. This work will build upon the foundation of the AIP.

Chair of the AEC Working Group on Investments & Infrastructure is Mr. Tero Kiviniemi.

Mandate and Work Plan

The Arctic is open for business. The roles of the AEC and the work of the Responsible Resource Development Working Group are to facilitate investments aimed at conducting resource development in a sustainable manner throughout the Arctic. A changing Arctic opens up new opportunities for more efficient marine transportation routes, and positions our region to meet the global deands for natural resources. Further, it empowers regional growth access to innovative renewable Technology to improve the quality of life at the local level.

The Working Group on Responsible Resource Development aims to provide the necessary framework for responsible resource exploration and development. The goals are centered around development taking place in a responsible, sustainable and cooperative manner which also contributes to the regional economic growth of the Arctic. The Arctic is becoming more accessible for development and with this new focus comes challenges annd opportunities in the circumpolar Arctic. The opportunities for economic growth from responsible resource development can benefit the local, regional, national and international communities in the Arctic.

Increased development in the Arctic raises many important questions about habitat and climate, about how local societies in the North should relate to the growing industrialization.

KEY ISSUES:

  • Review opportunities for resource development in the Arctic and identify potential barriers to sustainable development.
  • Facilitating business investments
  • Local benefits
  • Management of Risk
  • Sustainability

The Responsible Resource Development Working Group is co-chaired by Lillian Hvatum-Brewster and Bruce Harland.

Terms of Reference

Working Group Fact Sheet 

The AEC Working Group on Connectivity builds upon the work of the AEC Working Group on Infrastructure: Telecommunications chaired by Robert McDowell (USA). The Working Group on Infrastructure: Telecommunications concluded its work in 2017 with the publication of its report “Arctic Broadband – Recommendations for and Interconnected Arctic”. 

Report: “Arctic Broadband – Recommendations for an Interconnected Arctic”

The report: “Arctic Broadband – Recommendations for an Interconnected Arctic” was published in January 2017. The AEC’s Telecommunications Working Group’s report was the first of its kind, providing an analysis of the state of Arctic broadband. It also presents different funding options applicable in the Arctic, an overview of planned and ongoing projects related to connectivity, and gives recommendations for future. The report can be found here

Top of the World Arctic Broadband Summit

The Working Group has initiated the AEC Top of the World Arctic Broadband Summit (TOW Summit). The first TOW Summit was held in Barrow, Alaska in 2016. It gathered more than 100 participants including policy leaders, tech industry experts and other executives. Following positive feedback from the industry, the second TOW Summit was held in Oulu, Finland in 2017 in collaboration with the City of Oulu. Being held back-to-back with the EU Arctic Stakeholder Forum, the 2017 TOW Summit provided great synergy opportunities for improved dialogue between the Arctic business community and policy decision makers. The 3rd TOW Summit will be held on June 27-28, 2018 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. For more information, please see “Upcoming Events“. 

The Arctic is a vast region of diverse nature, physical environment and cultures. Access to energy is critical for Arctic inhabitants and energy resources can present positive opportunities for business development provided this is done with due regard to traditional and indigenous lifestyles and sustainability.

International concern about global warming in the Arctic has resulted in increasingly negative stakeholder opinions of Arctic resource development. Science based discussions around Arctic opportunities compete against popular media opinions, potentially risking that responsible Arctic investment is being unduly influenced by the views of those living outside the region.

The AEC recognizes that many people live and work in the Arctic, and that industry has been present across the regions for decades. The physical environment has driven solutions for energy efficiency and high operating standards. AEC therefore believes that business activity to utilize resources in the region should be viewed in terms of local benefit and sustainable practices and recognized as complementary to global resources.

An AEC Energy Working Group (EWG) is proposed to address “Energy Resources in the Arctic”.

The objective of the EWG is to provide simple, balanced information to key stakeholders regarding the context, opportunities and challenges for use of Arctic energy resources.

The work of the AEC Energy Working Group is led by Equinor, and the Working Group is currently being populated.

Mandate and Work Plan