2016 is the 20th anniversary of the Arctic Council. The Arctic Council, with its member states and indigenous peoples organizations known as Permanent Participants, was established in September 1996 in Ottawa, Canada where the Arctic states signed the founding Ottawa declaration creating the Council. In 2016 there will be different events celebrating twenty years of collaboration in the Arctic Council.
The Arctic Council is the only circumpolar body for political cooperation at government level where indigenous peoples are equal partners. It provides a forum for discussion between the eight Arctic states and representatives of indigenous peoples on issues of common interest. The Council promotes sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.
According to the Ottawa declaration, the Indigenous Peoples´ Secretariat (IPS) established under the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) was to continue under the framework of the Arctic Council. In 2014 IPS celebrated it´s 20th anniversary. This important milestone was commemorated with a workshop as well as a celebratory dinner and evening program, which took place on 27 November at North Atlantic House in Copenhagen. The workshop part of the anniversary celebration focused on the theme “Building on indigenous achievements on the Arctic Council”. The workshop participants pointed to a common understanding that indigenous peoples´ accomplishments in the AEPS and Arctic Council had been significant over the twenty year period, and that the unique collaboration amongst permanent participants and Arctic states had contributed to a greater understanding and success.