Arctic Council Legally Binding Agreements

Arctic Council ministers established the Task Force on Scientific Cooperation (SCTF) at the Kiruna Ministerial Conference in 2013. They asked the task force to “work towards an agreement on improving scientific cooperation in research between the eight Arctic countries”. In 2015, in Iqaluit, ministers decided to extend the mandate of the task force and, among other things, to work towards a legally binding agreement. In the end, the task force was jointly led by the United States and the Russian Federation, and Sweden was previously co-chair. The first meeting took place in Stockholm, followed by meetings in Helsinki, Reykjavik, Tromsø, Oslo, Copenhagen, Reykjavik again, Arlington, Virginia and finally Ottawa. The objective of the agreement is to improve cooperation in scientific activities in order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the development of scientific knowledge on the Arctic. For example, to engage in an urgent problem, coordinate activities, synchronize laws, exchange otherwise inaccessible data, or enter into agreements. Examples include soot reduction, protection of migratory birds, regional SAR cooperation and an Arctic observation network….