Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 252

252 Arctic Yearbook 2015 role of the AC chair should be confined largely to the actual ministerial meetings of the Council. This, it seems, was intended to deprive the chair of the right to speak or act on behalf of all Arctic states in relations with outside countries or international organizations. Similarly, the US insisted that the functions of the Council’s Secretariat should be reduced to a minimum (Scrivener 1999: 55-56) and handled primarily by the chair (at that time ‘the Host Country’), thus further reducing the Council’s scope for independent action. Finally, after much protracted debate, the rules of procedure of the Arctic Council were adopted at its first ministerial meeting in Iqaluit in September 1998. In many respects, they remain intact today, despite certain revisions in 2013. Main tasks of the chair of the Arctic Council According to the Declaration on the Establishment of the Arctic Council, the Council should normally meet on a biennial basis (Article 4) and responsibility for hosting meetings of the AC, including provisions of secretariat functions, should rotate sequentially among the Arctic States (Article 5) (Declaration on the Establishment of the Arctic Council 1996). The AC rules of procedure of 1998 did not speak of the chair of the Arctic Council but the Host Country, meaning “the Arctic State which chairs the Arctic Council during the particular period in question” (Arctic Council 1998). However, as the term Host Country was replaced by the one of Chairmanship in the revised Rules of Procedure adopted during the Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna, Sweden in May 2013 (Arctic Council 2013), the term chairmanship will be used subsequently in this text. In addition, the revised rules from 2013 are numbered, unlike the ones from 1998; therefore, the numbers in brackets below refer to revised provisions. Finally, in cases where the revised rules altered or added to the wording of original provisions, the relevant information is provided. As stipulated in the rules, the Chairmanship is to act as the AC Chair from the conclusion of a biennial Ministerial meeting to the conclusion of the next biennial Ministerial meeting, and coordinate arrangements for Ministerial meetings. These functions were complemented in the revised rules from 2013 by the responsibility “for facilitating preparations for Ministerial and SAO meetings, in coordination with the Secretariat, and carrying out such other tasks as the Arctic Council may require or direct” (Rule 10). After consultation with Arctic states and Permanent Participants, the Chairmanship may place reasonable limits on the size of all delegations for a meeting and shall notify all delegations accordingly (Rule 13) and, subject to the approval of the Arctic states, designate the Chairperson for Ministerial meetings (Rule 16). As laid out above, in accordance with article 5 of Ottawa Declaration, the chair of the Arctic Council shall rotate among the Arctic states and prior to the conclusion of each Ministerial meeting, the Arctic states shall confirm the host of the next meeting (Rule 17). The Chairmanship shall propose a date and the location for a biennial Ministerial meeting at least six months in advance of the proposed date (Rule 18) and, after consultation with Arctic states and Permanent Participants, circulate a draft agenda which - after revision - is to be adopted by a decision of the Arctic states at the opening session of each Ministerial meeting (Rule 19). According to Rule 22 the Chairmanship shall provide the chairperson for the SAO meetings, subject to the concurrence of the Arctic states there represented, while meetings of SAOs should take place at least twice yearly at the call of the Chairmanship, after consultation with the representatives of the Permanent Participants (Rule 25). With regard to public communications, the Chairmanship is Role of the Arctic Council Chairmanship