Sustainable Development Working Group


The Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) was established in 1998 after the inception of the Arctic Council, and is one of six Arctic Council Working Groups. The goal of the SDWG is to propose and adopt steps to be taken by the Arctic States to advance sustainable development in the Arctic; this includes pursuing opportunities to protect and enhance the environment and support the economies, culture and health of Indigenous Peoples and Arctic communities. The guiding principle running throughout the work of the SDWG is to pursue initiatives that provide practical knowledge and contribute to building the capacity of Indigenous Peoples and Arctic communities to respond to the challenges and opportunities in the Arctic region.

The SDWG is currently the only Arctic Council working group without a permanent secretariat. Through Canada’s creation of a permanent secretariat for the Sustainable Development Working Group, hosted by Laval University, we are addressing this gap. The establishment of a permanent secretariat in Canada is one of the key deliverables of the international chapter of Canada’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework that will; advance the work of the Sustainable Development Working Group, ensure that the Arctic Council has a physical presence in North America and contribute to increasing Canada’s global leadership in the Arctic.

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