The main tasks of the Arctic Council are to protect the Arctic environment and to promote the economic, social and cultural development of the Arctic region.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency´s involvement with the Arctic Council mainly takes the form of expert participation in the following working groups:
Climate issues are a high priority for the Arctic Council. The most important measures for limiting Arctic warming is to reduce emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases, above all carbon dioxide. In the short-term perspective, measures that reduce the presence of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP), such as black carbon, tropospheric ozone and methane, can play a significant role in limiting climate change, particularly at regional level.
Another priority area is chemicals. The Swedish EPA leads the project on combating the spread of dioxins in the Arctic, and it is also involved in the work to eliminate the use of mercury and brominated flame retardants in the region.
The two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotates among the member states, which are Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faeroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States. The state holding the chairmanship guides the work of the Council through the priorities it sets.
The Chairmanship of the Arctic Council 2015-2017 is held by USA.
The theme of the American chairmanship is:
The chairmanship theme: One Arctic: Shared Opportunities, Challenges and Responsibilities. Priorities are: Marine environment, conserve Arctic biodiversity, improve conditions in Arctic communities and address the rapidly changing climate in the Arctic.
The Arctic Council is directed by the foreign ministers of the member states. In between ministerial meetings the organization is administered by the Committee of Senior Arctic Officials. The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs is coordinating Sweden's participation in the Arctic Council.