The Arctic Economic Council (AEC) has appointed Inger Johnsen as the new chair of the body.
Johnsen, the head of communications for Troms Kraft, a Norwegian renewable energy group, says the AEC will have an important role to play in the longterm sustainable development of the North.
“The AEC remains to be the only organization representing business interests in the region,” Johnsen said in a Q&A posted on the AEC website. “The Arctic is too important to let the decisions be made outside of the region and without participation of the stakeholders for whom living and working in the North.
“Due to the war in Ukraine, it will not be business as usual, but we will continue to build up the AEC capacity to facilitate sustainable economic development in the Arctic.”
The Arctic Economic Council was a Canadian initiative under its last Arctic Council chairmanship (2013-2015).
The AEC was conceived to advise the Arctic Council on business issues. Now, it also facilitates business-to-business activities for northern-based companies or those elsewhere who want to do business in the North.
Its members include businesses, Indigenous groups, Indigenous land claims organizations and non-Arctic members.
Green transition in the North
Johnsen said upcoming AEC priorities include “energy, a just transition and thriving communities.”
“We can succeed with this energy transition through skilled and experienced business practices and through public and private partnerships,” she said.
“Focusing on greening the economy in a way that it is a vehicle for sustainable economic growth and social development in the Arctic.”
Though a separate body from the Arctic Council, the AEC leadership changes hands in concert with the Arctic Council rotating two-year chairmanship.
Norway took over chairmanship of the Arctic Council from Russia on May 11.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
Related stories from around the North:
Norway: Will the green transition be the new economic motor in the Arctic?, Eye on the Arctic
United States: Companies announce investment in major Alaska oil project, Alaska Public Media