The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum of circumpolar states that has been operating since 1996. This is the central organization for cooperation in the Arctic in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development of the region.
The Council was formed by the countries of the Arctic Eight, which includes: Russia, Canada, the United States of America, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden.
The status of a permanent member of the Arctic Council has six organizations of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, which are involved in decision-making and shaping its policies:
To solve priority tasks, the Arctic Council has formed six working groups: to eliminate pollution in the Arctic; on the conservation of Arctic flora and fauna; for the protection of the Arctic marine environment; on the implementation of the Arctic monitoring and assessment program; on prevention, preparedness and response to emergencies; on sustainable development in the Arctic. The Arctic Council may also create task forces or expert groups to carry out specific tasks.
In May 2011, in Nuuk (Greenland), within the framework of the ministerial session of the Arctic Council, the first ever pan-Arctic document was signed, the idea of which belongs to the Russian Federation - "Agreement on Cooperation in Aviation and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic". The signing of the document created a unified regional search and rescue system in the Arctic, including the coordination of rescue forces.
For the Russian Federation, this Agreement entered into force on January 19, 2013 (the procedure for entry into force is determined by paragraph 2 of Article 19 of the Agreement).
On May 15, 2013 in Kiruna (Sweden), during the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the member countries of the Arctic Council, the “Agreement on cooperation in the field of preparedness and response to marine oil pollution in the Arctic” was adopted.
The Third Agreement to Strengthen International Arctic Scientific Cooperation was signed in Fairbanks (Alaska) at the 2017 Ministerial Session.
In 2021-2023, the Russian Federation chairs the Arctic Council. Information about the Arctic Council is available on the official website: http://www.arctic-council.org/index.php/ru.
The current state of the small peoples of the North
There is a positive dynamics of demographic processes among the small peoples of the North. The number of Oroks (Ulta) has increased almost 2.5 times, the number of Nenets, Selkups, Khanty, Yukagirs, Negidals, Tofalars, Itelmens, Kets, and others has increased significantly (by 20–70 percent).
A significant achievement was the formation of financial instruments of state support for the socio-economic development of the small peoples of the North. Over the past 15 years, the Russian Federation has implemented three federal target programs, as well as numerous regional target programs and subprograms for the socio-economic development of the indigenous peoples of the North, designed to create conditions for their sustainable development at the expense of the federal budget, the budgets of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and non-budgetary sources. At the expense of the federal budget, subsidies were provided to the budgets of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation to support reindeer husbandry and livestock breeding.
In places of traditional residence and traditional economic activities of the small peoples of the North, daytime general education schools and boarding schools were introduced to teach children of reindeer herders, fishermen and hunters, including in their native language. In the places of nomadic reindeer herders, the creation of nomadic schools was initiated, in which children receive primary education, taking into account the traditional way of life of the small peoples of the North.
At present, the Association of Indigenous Minorities of the North, Siberia and the Far East is engaged in protection of the solution of social and economic problems, problems of environmental protection, cultural development and education of the Indigenous Minorities of the Russian Federation. The Association works to ensure the rights to protect the original habitat and traditional way of life of the small peoples of the North, as well as to ensure their right to self-government in accordance with national and international legal standards. The main developed projects of the Association are: