Yesterday 20 May, a ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council was held in Reykjavik but no decisions were made about the states applying for observer status.
Estonia wishes to become an observer on the Arctic Council to participate in discussions on the sustainable development of the Arctic because it directly affects Estonia, the northernmost non-Arctic state. We submitted our formal application to the Secretariat of the council in November 2020, highlighting the long-standing experience of our scientists in researching climate change and indigenous people in the Arctic region, including by using contemporary solutions.
“We are very grateful to all our good partners who have helped us with our candidacy and preparations,” Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said. “While the decision was not made this time, we consider it a milestone on a longer journey. The process of applying for the Arctic Council and the events we organised to present our application have met a positive response and raised Estonia’s profile when it comes to Arctic issues. We will continue running for observer status and presenting our experience, as well as our cooperation with the members and observers of the Arctic Council. We can rely on the many new contacts we have already made,” she added.
Various state institutions, scientists and private companies were involved in preparing Estonia’s application for observer status on the Arctic Council. Our candidacy has seen the organisation of several events, including a public seminar in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament, a joint seminar of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polar Club, the scientific conference “The Changing Arctic” organised by the Norwegian Embassy and the Estonian Academy of Sciences, a webinar of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US think tank Wilson Center, and a seminar on maritime history and polar issues organised by the Estonian Embassy in Stockholm and the Estonian Maritime Museum. Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets and President Kersti Kaljulaid also presented Estonia’s candidacy at international conferences.
The next ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council where Estonia’s application could be approved will be held in 2023.
You can keep an eye on Estonia’s journey towards observer status on the Arctic Council on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.vm.ee/en/arctic