The Ottawa Declaration defines these states as Members of the Arctic Council.
Permanent Participants are organizations representing Arctic Indigenous peoples in the Council. They are supported by the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat.
Research, monitoring and the other work of the Council is primarily carried out by Working Groups.
Observer status in the Arctic Council is open to non-Arctic states, along with inter-governmental, inter-parliamentary, global, regional and non-governmental organizations that the Council determines can contribute to its work.
The Council may also establish Task Forces or Expert Groups to carry out specific work.
The Arctic Council regularly produces comprehensive, cutting-edge environmental, ecological and social assessments through its Working Groups.
The Council has also provided a forum for the negotiation of three important legally binding agreements among the eight Arctic States:
The Chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotates every two years among the Arctic States. The first country to chair the Arctic Council was Canada (1996-1998), followed by the United States, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Norway, the Kingdom of Denmark, and Sweden. The second cycle of Chairmanships began in 2013.
Iceland chairs the Arctic Council from 2019 to 2021, and the Russia Federation chairs from 2021 to 2023.
The Arctic Council is a forum; it has no programming budget. All projects or initiatives are sponsored by one or more Arctic States. Some projects also receive support from other entities.
The Arctic Council does not and cannot implement or enforce its guidelines, assessments or recommendations. That responsibility belongs to each individual Arctic State.
The Arctic Council’s mandate, as articulated in the Ottawa Declaration, explicitly excludes military security.