The aim of the circumpolar business forum AEC is to foster sustainable development, including economic growth, environmental protection and social development in the Arctic region.
Arctic Council members first approved of the initiative at a ministerial meeting in Kiruna, Sweden in May 2013, when Canada first took over the council’s chairmanship.
And for the last seven months, an international task force has been charged with developing a business forum with representation from the Arctic Council’s eight member states. Over time, the idea of a forum has given way to a more permanent council or advisory group that would report directly to the Arctic Council on circumpolar business and economic development issues.
The Arctic senior officials were met by Greenpeace protesters who claim that the Arctic Council is pushing a pro-oil agenda under Canada’s leadership and that the conomic council is little more than a guise to give the business community and oil companies a direct link to Arctic officials, Nunatsiaq Online reports.
The Arctic Council consists of the eight Arctic states Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the United States. Six international organisations representing Arctic Indigenous Peoples have permanent participant status.