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

Chair 2023-2025
Norway

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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. 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.

Inga Nyhamar
SDWG Chair

EMMANUEL BOUCHER-FASSETT
SDWG Executive Secretary

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SDWG publications

thumb Gender Equality in the Arctic IV Project Proposal
thumb SDWG Project Proposal - Preserving ARCtic ARChitectural Heritage (PrARCHeritage)
thumb SDWG Project Proposal - Advancing Arctic Resilience: Exploring aspects of Arctic Resilience connected to the impacts of permafrost thaw
thumb SDWG Project Proposal - COVID-19 in the Arctic Assessment Report
thumb Arctic Community Perspectives on Covid-19 and Public Health: A Multi-Site Case Study Project Proposal
thumb Arctic Resilience Forum 2020

SDWG News

Q&A on the nexus of gender and the environment with Dr. Malgorzata ‘Gosia’ Smieszek-Rice

We wanted to explore the nexus of gender and environment in the Arctic and caught up with Dr. Malgorzata ‘Gosia’ Smieszek-Rice for a rapid Q&A. Gosia is postdoctoral rese...
19 Mar 2024

The Norwegian Chairship at Arctic Frontiers 2024

The Norwegian Chairship of the Arctic Council (2023-2025) hosted a series of side events at the Arctic Frontiers conference 2024 in Tromsø, Norway. Find the recordings of...
22 Jan 2024
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