Observing the Arctic Council

Organized by the West Nordic Council 27. September 2017

The breakout session will focus on the following questions: What is the role of observers in the Arctic Council? How can they contribute to and influence the work of the Council? What should an inter-parliamentary organization like the West Nordic Council focus on in its efforts to contribute to and impact the work of the Arctic Council?

Friday, October 13, 17:55 - 19:25

Location: Ríma B, Ground Level

Last May the West Nordic Council was granted observer status to the Arctic Council. The West Nordic Council is currently developing the strategic framework for its observership for 2018-2020. The main overall objective is to decrease the democratic deficit in the Arctic by making sure that the voice of the inhabitants of the region is heard and their rights protected.
The session gives an insight into the work, role and influence of observers to the Arctic Council, with contributions from four different observers. A Senior Arctic Official in the Arctic Council will furthermore shed a light on how those governing the Arctic Council view the role of observers and the value of their contribution. The West Nordic Council hopes for a lively discussion that can provide valuable input into the work on the aforementioned strategic framework.


  • Bryndís Haraldsdóttir, Vice-President of the West Nordic Council, and MP, Iceland: Introduction.
  • Eirik Sivertsen, Chair of the Standing Committee of Arctic Parliamentarians (SCPAR), and MP, Norway: Arctic Parliamentarians and the Arctic Council
  • Nauja Bianco, Senior Advisor at the Nordic Council of Ministers: A Pragmatic Reciprocal Approach to Being an Observer in the Arctic Council – a Nordic Case.
  • Allen Pope, Executive Secretary of the International Arctic Science Committee: Contributing Scientific Expertise to the Arctic Council.
  • Árni Þór Sigurðsson, Ambassador for Arctic Affairs, Senior Arctic Official, Iceland: How can the observers influence the work of the Arctic Council?