The Arctic Council must become more efficient both in terms of management, organization and reporting. That’s the conclusion of a survey conducted by the Office of the Auditor General of Norway. The results were presented to the Norwegian Parliament earlier today.
Climate change and increased availability provides major environmental challenges in the Arctic.
- Increasing activity in the Arctic makes cooperation in the Arctic Council more important, says Comptroller General Per-Kristian Foss in a press release.
The survey is the Norwegian contribution to a multilateral audit of the Arctic Council. The United States of America, Russia, Denmark and Sweden has also participated, and produced similar surveys.
The main findings of the national audits are summarized in a joint memorandum, which is now out for approval.
The Office of the Auditor General of Norway emphasizes that the Arctic Council is becoming increasingly important, but says the management of the council must be better.
The office notes that the Arctic Council contributes to collaboration and increased knowledge, especially on environmental and climate change.
- It is very important for a common understanding of the challenges, and the need for action. The Arctic Council's recommendations are not binding under international law. But it is important that the Arctic states shows, through the council, that they take responsibility for ensuring sustainable development, Comptroller General Per-Kristian Foss says.
Criticizes Norwegian Ministries
The survey shows that the Arctic Council is not properly organized, and have inadequate management of the work, both in terms of priorities, funding and reporting. One of the findings are that the council's workgroups seems to work in different ways, both when it comes to mandate, activities and achievement.
- There is a need for a stronger prioritization, more predictable funding, and that the resources in a greater extent are governed by long-term and concrete goals, Foss says.
- The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs should give priority to contribute to this, he adds.
The Office of the Auditor General of Norway believes that the Norwegian authorities work towards the Arctic Council must be followed up better. Both the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the responsible authority, and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment are being criticized for having engaged too little.
- We recommend the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate for better coordination and interaction, and that all relevant ministries find it useful to contribute and to utilize the Arctic Council, Comptroller General Per-Kristian Foss concludes.