UArctic President Lars Kullerud and Kjell Jonsson, vice rector of Umeå, and nominated incoming UArctic Board member were present representing the University of the Arctic as official observers. In addition, UArctic Institute Northern Reserch Forum lead Lassi Heininen and other UArctic associated experts were included in other delegations. Bjørn Dahlbäck, Director-General of the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat also had an opportunity to address the ministers in a closed session at the Abisko Research Station.

Among the outcomes of the Ministerial is a new Arctic Council Vision for the Arctic that explicitly includes higher education and research. Under the heading 'Arctic Knowledge' the Vision states, "
We will continue to deepen the knowledge and understanding of the Arctic, both inside and outside the region, and to strengthen Arctic research and transdisciplinary science, encourage cooperation between higher education institutions and society, and synergies between traditional knowledge and science.”

The official Kiruna Declaration from the meeting also included the statement:
[The Ministers] “Agree that cooperation in scientific research across the circumpolar Arctic is of great importance to the work of the Arctic Council, and establish a Task Force to work towards an arrangement on improved scientific research cooperation among the eight Arctic States”.

The inclusion of this statement in the Vision demonstrates that the message UArctic and others have consistently brought to the Arctic Council about the central importance of higher education and research in addressing the region's challenges has been taken on board. UArctic warmly welcomes this development and would welcome participating in the new Task Force.

Canada now takes over as Chair of the Arctic Council, a role it first had when the Arctic Council was first established in 1996. "
Canada is honoured to assume the Chairmanship of the Council,” said Minister Leona Aglukkaq. “The theme for Canada’s Chairmanship is Development for the People of the North.”

During the Canadian Chairmanship, the Arctic Council program will include the establishment of a Circumpolar Business Forum to provide new opportunities for business to engage with the Council; continued work on oil pollution prevention; and action to address short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane.

The University of the Arctic thanks Sweden for the excellent leadership of the Arctic Council during their Chairmanship and looks forward to working with Canada in the next two years, especially moving forward on comprehensive strategies for higher education and research across the region. Kullerud concludes, "UArctic's commitment to strengthening knowledge and capacity-building in and for the North will be an important contribution to the Canadian Chairmanship's goal of 'development for the people of the North.'"

[Arctic Council Press Release]