The 1st of December 2017 the Kingdom of Denmark, together with Greenland and Faroe Islands hosted an international high-level conference in partnership with the Arctic Economic Council. The conference was titled: ’The SDGs in the Arctic: Local and Global Perspectives’. Arctic Consensus was well represented alongside many other participants from various Arctic countries.

The conference focused on how public and private engagements based in the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN can contribute to a sustainable development in the Arctic.

Speakers at the conference were among others His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Denmark, Ms. Suka K. Frederiksen – Minister of Independence, Foreign Affairs and Agriculture, Greenland, and Mr. Anders Samuelsen – Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark, Ms. Lise Kingo – CEO of UN Global Compact and many others.

The conference illustrated how many organizations see the SDGs as a good framework for strategic and concrete cooperation and economic development in the Arctic. At the same time, SDGs offers a universal terminology for sustainable development that sets the direction for national and regional cooperation between public, private and local stakeholders.

Through various discussions and presentations, points were made regarding how organizations that choose to align their strategy with the SDGs are better prepared for future challenges, and that the private sector encourages coherent, ambitious and global strategies based on the SDGs.

Furthermore, it was discussed how SDGs are seen by many as a holistic approach to development which allows room to include the origin of the Arctic to ensure sustainable development. It was expressed that it is not a single Arctic region but instead it is more diverse, multidimensional, national and sub-national Arctic regions with both similarities and differences.

In the closing session with Senior Arctic Officials from Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland and Denmark, the importance of cooperation and collaboration between all actors in the Arctic was concluded, and how inclusion of local and indigenous peoples in the Arctic is key and also how public-private partnerships is the way forward when addressing sustainable development in the Arctic region. Lastly, the group concluded by agreeing that the SDGs offer a framework for the Arctic Council’s strategic path towards 2030 and pledged to work together towards this common goal.