Arctic Council aims for boost in business

Tara Sweeney and Børge Brende raise the flag of the Arctic Economic Council as the new council secretariat opens in Tromsø, Norway

TROMSØ: The difficult situation elsewhere in the world has not spread to the Arctic, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende says as he officially opens the new Arctic Economic Council Secretariat.


“Here in the Arctic, relations are based on cooperative approaches and the principles of international law and the Law of the Seas”, Brende told BarentsObserver as he raised the flag of the new secretariat in a ceremony in Tromso, northern Norway, on Tuesday.

“This is the way we want it to continue”, he underlined.

Together with Tara Sweeney, chair of the Arctic Economic Council, Brende this week opened the new Tromsø-based secretariat. ”This is a historical event and breakthrough” in Arctic affairs, he underlined.

The secretariat is a joint initiative of Arctic governments and business communities. It will support the Arctic Economic Council, a body established in March 2014.

Tara Sweeney is chair of the Arctic Economic Council. Photo: Atle Staalesen

”The time is right for the circumpolar business community to get a meaningful voice in Arctic developments”, Tara Sweeney said. ”This marks the start of a new way of doing business in the Arctic”, she added.

Sweeney, an American, is chairing the council for the first period.

The council, an independent organization, has three working groups, on Stewardship in the Arctic; Maritime Transportation; and Responsible Resource Development.