Sustainable Development Working Group

Quick facts

Primary Focus:
Advancing sustainable development and improving environmental, economic and social conditions of Indigenous peoples and Arctic communities

Establishment:
1998

Chairmanship 2021-2023
Russian Federation

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About SDWG

SDWG’s work generally falls into thematic areas identified in its Strategic Framework:

  • Economic assessments: Strengthen analysis and joint monitoring of economic trends and activities in the Arctic, including enhancing sustainable and diverse economic development, investments and policies.
  • Educational opportunities: Develop circumpolar networks and harness innovative technologies to build knowledge and develop skills needed to maintain vibrant communities in a changing region.
  • Heritage and culture of Arctic communities: Deepen global understanding of the region’s peoples, cultures, traditional ways of life, languages and values and promote traditional and local knowledge. Sustain and celebrate Indigenous languages, traditional lifeways and practices. Support the identification and promotion of heritage sites and areas of cultural significance in the Arctic.
  • Human health: Exchange information, assessments and innovations that can support public health systems and health service delivery with emphasis on projects that reduce death and disability from environmental risk factors, suicide and high-burden infectious and chronic diseases.
  • Infrastructure: Provide information to inform responsible and sustainable long-term investments in all forms of Arctic infrastructure while taking into account the present needs of communities as well as the changing environment through independent efforts and in coordination with other subsidiary bodies and task forces.
  • Reduction/elimination of inequalities: Strengthen and promote the adoption of sound policies for the elimination of inequalities based on age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status at all levels.
  • Science and research for sustainable development: Facilitate good use of the Arctic region’s research institutions and extensive intellectual resources to benefit sustainable development, including through academic exchanges and joint Arctic research.
  • Sustainable business involvement and development: Explore economic development, including in new and emerging sectors, and evaluate its potential benefits, including job creation and promotion of local culture and products.
  • Sustainable energy: Promote responsible and sustainable management, use and development of energy and resources as well as innovative approaches encouraging renewable energy in even the most remote Arctic communities.
  • Transportation links: Promote the development of sustainable transportation infrastructure and traditional corridors that increase the capabilities for efficient movement of people and goods that have implications for Arctic communities.
  • Water and sanitation services: Strengthen the participation of local communities in improving sustainable water, sanitation and waste disposal management with an eye to the unique engineering challenges and environmental risks that the region faces.

SDWG is led by a Chairmanship that rotates between Arctic Council Member States every two years. Iceland holds the current Chairmanship for SDWG. Arctic States and Permanent Participants participate in the work, and Observers are invited to participate at SDWG meetings. A full list of SDWG projects and reports can be found on SDWG’s website.

Two expert groups currently operate under SDWG: the Arctic Human Health Expert Group and the Social, Economic and Cultural Expert Group.

SDWG meets twice a year to discuss priorities and projects identified in the work plan.

Abidat Magomedova
SDWG Chair

Jennifer Spence

Executive Secretary
Email
+1-613-878-1759

SDWG News

Quiz: Which 2021 Arctic Council report should you read based on your interests?

In 2021, the Arctic Council's Working and Expert Groups released over 50 new reports on topics including climate change, emergency response, biodiversity, Arctic shipping...
25 Oct 2021

Time witness reports: The Council’s informal structure has been important to its longevity and success

Harald Finkler has experienced and captured the evolution of the Arctic Council firsthand – both with his camera and in his interview for this time witness report. For al...
05 Oct 2021

Introducing the new SDWG Chair: “We can bring concrete results to people in the Arctic"

Dr. Oleg Solyakov is the new Chair of the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) and with the Russian Chairmanship’s focus on people in the Arctic, he enters his ro...
13 Jul 2021
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Events

26 Oct-28 Oct 2021
SDWG Plenary and Executive II 2021 Online
30 Nov-02 Dec 2021
SAO Executive and Plenary 2021 Salekhard, Russian Federation
22 Mar-24 Mar 2022
SAO Executive and Plenary I 2022 Arkhangelsk, Russian Federation
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@sdwg_chair
  • We have arrived at #ArcticCircle2021! Have you? Looking forward to seeing many colleagues and engaging in good discussions about the #Arctic. #ArcticCouncilActive @sdwgsecretariat https://t.co/5mq0f3fFzv October 13 9:33 am