The Arctic serves as a good example of how states can cooperate pragmatically, despite great
challenges and rapid change. The Arctic Council is the ‘hub’ of this cooperation. Since it was
founded in 1996, it has managed to present many ground-breaking reports, such as the
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, and has embraced more solid decision-making as
witnessed by the adoption of the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement in 2011.
One of the main reasons behind the success of the Arctic Council is its science-policy
interface. Important reports on priority issues by the working groups create a foundation for
efficient negotiations among the Senior Arctic Officials and decisions by the foreign
ministers. Knowledge and science relating to the Arctic are thus central to the success of
Arctic diplomacy. The Arctic Yearbook is a very important part of the scientific discourse on
Sweden is more than half-way through its Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, and the gavel
will be handed over to Canada in conjunction with the Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna in May
2013. The remaining period of the Chairmanship will doubtlessly prove to be a challenge.
The time has now come to negotiate the final deliverables on all the important priorities of
Protecting the environment from oil emissions, resilience of Arctic nature and communities,
and the human dimension of the Arctic are among the top priorities for the Swedish
Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. We continuously strive for progress and improvements
in these specific areas.
The issue of Arctic oil spill prevention and response is leading to concrete results. We
anticipate a number of best practice recommendations for the prevention of oil spills and
hope that the foreign ministers will be able to sign a cooperation agreement between the
states to enable the effective control of any spills. The Arctic Resilience Report presents a
better understanding of Arctic change. It identifies potential shocks and large shifts in
ecosystem services and analyses how these could affect societies. Lastly, we have emphasised
the importance of strengthening the human dimension in the Arctic by, for example,
arranging seminars on the issues of food and water security and corporate social
responsibility, which we hope will lead to valuable recommendations.
Bearing in mind the importance the Arctic Council attaches to research, I am very happy to
have been invited to be a part of this publication. I would particularly like to thank all of the
authors for their remarkable work, which I very much look forward to reading.
Arctic Council SAO Chair