The goal of the Sustainable Development program of the Arctic Council 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 the economies, culture and health of Indigenous peoples and Arctic communities. The guiding tenet 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 benefits from the opportunities in the Arctic region.
Terms of Reference for the SDWG were formally adopted at the Arctic Council Ministers’ Meeting in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada in September 1998.
Each Arctic State and Permanent Participant is represented by a Head of Delegation and such other representatives as required to carry out the work. Accredited Arctic Council Observers may also participate in working group activities in accordance with the Arctic Council Rules of Procedure and other Guidelines for Observers.
The SDWG is supported by two subsidiary expert groups.
The SDWG continues to enhance its structures and procedures to bring together the requisite knowledge and expertise on issues and activities within its mandate.