Heidar Guđjonsson of Iceland was welcomed as the new chair of the organization after a unanimous decision from AEC delegates at the Annual meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland. Mr. Guđjonsson takes over after Tero Vauraste (CEO, Mariadi Oy), as chairmanship of he organization shifts from the Finnish business community to the Icelandic businesses.
In addition to the framework set by the AEC’s strategic plan, the Icelandic business communities have decided to set the following priorities for their two-year chairmanship:
Securing Sustainable Development: Arctic Investment Protocol
In 2017, the AEC endorsed the intent of the Arctic Investment Protocol (AIP), originally a product of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Arctic. The work on the AIP is conducted by the AEC’s Working Group on Investments and Infrastructure (IIWG). During the Icelandic businesses’ AEC Chairmanship, the aim is to:
- Strengthen the AIP as the baseline for commitment for companies investing in the Arctic
- Build a coalition of support around the principles
- Work in an open and transparent manner to make the AIP more practically applicable
- Open a submission form for the collection of best practices and lessons learned related to these principles
- Publish the best practices and push to make them known internationally
An Ocean of Opportunities: Blue Economy
In addition to the already strong AEC focus on maritime issues, the Icelandic businesses aim to broaden the scope of the AEC’s work by focusing on the opportunities provided by the emerging blue economy. Icelandic examples related to the harvest of cod show that there is a significant untapped potential tied to the better use of resources. Better use of natural resources can help diversify the economy in remote Arctic communities and help create new jobs suitable for both genders. This can help serve as an example for innovation and better use of natural resources for the whole region. The aim is to:
- Establish a new Working Group on Blue Economy and build a strong coalition of stakeholders from across the Arctic as well as from outside the region to work on these issues.
- Use this Working Group as an arena for sharing examples of best practices across the region
International Collaboration: Strengthened collaboration between the AEC and the Arctic Council
One of the AEC’s goals is to provide advice and a business perspective to the work of the Arctic Council. A Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations was signed in May 2019. The Icelandic business community wants to strengthen the practical cooperation between the AEC and the Arctic Council Working Groups, bringing the two closer together.
- Review collaboration opportunities between the relevant AEC and Arctic Council Working Groups.
- Joint effort to improve connectivity in the Arctic based on the previous work of the Arctic Council task forces and the AEC Working Group on Infrastructure: Telecommunications, AEC’s Top of the World Arctic Broadband Summit, and the AEC’s Working Group on Connectivity.
- Review the opportunity for a joint effort within the blue economy including maritime transportation
More information about the overarching themes can be found here: https://arcticeconomiccouncil.com/about-us/