Analysis & Opinions - High North News

Russia Suspends Funding for the Arctic Council: Wake Up Call NOT Death Knell

| Feb. 15, 2024

If you are an Arctic enthusiast like me, your newsfeed on Wednesday morning was likely full of articles announcing Russia’s decision to suspend annual payments to the Arctic Council until “real work” resumes or some variation on that theme.

Not surprisingly, I had colleagues who immediately assumed that this was a sign of the further decline of Arctic cooperation and another nail in the coffin for the Arctic Council. But, as someone who has studied and worked for the Arctic Council, this announcement actually gave me hope, and I want to share my geeky knowledge of this institution to explain why.

First, suspending funding to the Arctic Council is not as dramatic as it sounds. The activities of the Arctic Council are primarily supported by in-kind and financial contributions from those directly involved in specific projects.

For example, the Aleut International Association, Finland, and the United States might decide to contribute to a project related to waste management; Iceland, Canada, and Saami Council to a project on gender equality; and Gwich’in Council International, Norway and the United States to a wildland fire project. In each case, the expertise and funding for the project comes from the institutions involved.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Spence, Jennifer.“Russia Suspends Funding for the Arctic Council: Wake Up Call NOT Death Knell.” High North News, February 15, 2024.