Working Groups

The Council's activities are conducted in six Working Groups. It is the responsibility of the Working Groups to execute the programs and projects mandated by the Arctic Council Ministers. These mandates are stated in the Ministerial Declarations, the official documents that result from Ministerial Meetings.

Arctic Contaminants Action Program

ACAP’s mission is to contribute to the efforts to reduce environmental risks and prevent pollution of the Arctic environment. ACAP acts as a strengthening and supporting mechanism of the Arctic Council, encouraging national actions to reduce emissions and releases of pollutants and to reduce environmental, human health and socio-economic risks.

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme

The mission of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme Working Group (AMAP) is to monitor and assess pollution and climate change issues in the Arctic. AMAP produces independent, science-based and peer-reviewed assessments of the status of pollution and climate change in the Arctic in order to provide the basis for sound policy- and decision-making.

Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna

CAFF is the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council and consists of National Representatives assigned by each of the eight Arctic Council Member States, representatives of Indigenous Peoples' organizations that are Permanent Participants to the Council, and Arctic Council observer countries and organizations. The CAFF Working Group operates by the Arctic Council Rules of Procedures.

Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response

The Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group is mandated to contribute to the prevention, preparedness and response to environmental and other emergencies, accidents and search and rescue (SAR). While not an operational response organization, EPPR conducts projects to address gaps, prepare strategies, share information, collect data, and collaborate with relevant partners on capabilities and research needs that exist in the Arctic.

Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment

The PAME Working Group is the focal point of the Arctic Council’s activities related to the protection and sustainable use of the Arctic marine environment.

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Sustainable Development Working Group

The Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) focuses on the human dimensions of the Arctic. It works to protect and enhance the environment, economy, social conditions and health of Indigenous peoples and Arctic inhabitants.

Principle of Consensus: All decisions of the Arctic Council and its subsidiary bodies are by consensus of the eight Arctic Member States.

The work of Working Groups covers a broad field of subjects, from climate change to emergency response.

Each Working Group has a:

  • Mandate
  • Chair
  • Management Board or Steering Committee
  • Secretariat which provides support

Working Group Management Boards are typically comprised of:

  • representatives of national governmental agencies of the Arctic Council Member States, connected to the mandates of the Working Groups
  • representatives of the Permanent Participants

Observer States and Observer Organizations are likely to attend Working Group meetings and participate in specific projects. In addition, Working Groups regularly have invited guests or experts attending their meetings.