Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 254

254 Arctic Yearbook 2015 functions as may be required and directed by the SAOs and the SAO Chair (Art. 3.6g). Finally, when it comes to the administrative budget of the Secretariat, the Chair carries the costs, others than listed in the Art.6.1, as per current practice and the rules of procedure, including renting rooms and providing interpretation at the meetings of SAOs, deputy ministers and ministers (Art. 6.1). In conclusion, the establishment of a standing Secretariat gave the AC an administrative capacity and institutional memory that it did not possess previously and which was difficult to maintain with rotating chairmanships. However, as a more detailed examination of the Secretariat’s terms of reference shows, much discretion and margin of maneuver is still left to the Chairmanship, in particular through the control that the SAO Chair maintains over the director of the Secretariat who has the overall responsibility for the management, administration and the day-to-day functioning of the Secretariat (Art. 3.2. and 3.4). AC chairmanships - between theory and practice When Canada assumed the AC chairmanship in 2013, the cycle of rotating chairmanships among the eight Arctic states began anew. In the first cycle, states proposed themselves as the next country to hold the chair which consequently moved from Canada (1996-1998) to the United States (1998-2000), Finland (2000-2002), Iceland (2002-2004), Russia (2004-2006), Norway (2006-2009)10, Denmark (2009-2011) and finally to Sweden (2011-2013). For their two-year term of office Arctic states typically have proposed a program of objectives or actions that they would like prioritized during their tenure. Arguably it is through advancement of those priorities that the chairmanship may be seen as a ‘window of opportunity’ to shift the agenda of the AC closer to the national interest of the state in office, even if constrained by the consensual nature of AC decision-making process. According to theoretical insights, states typically confer upon the chair the tasks of agenda setting, brokerage and representation in response to problems related to bargaining in a multilateral context even if in the case of the Arctic Council much of the evidence shows the United States resisting allowing the Council any resemblance to an international organization, and thus confining the actual role of the chair. Under the significant constraints of a consensus-based decision-making body (in concordance with the Article 7 of the Ottawa Declaration), the customary practice of suggesting the priorities for two-year rotating terms has nevertheless allowed the chairing country to play something of a leadership role in defining the AC objectives throughout its tenure (Spence 2015). In light of the culture of dialogue and the practice of round-table discussions within the AC and its subsidiary bodies (e.g. working groups) (Fenge & Funston 2015), the brokerage function is conceivably of lesser importance, whereas representation of the Arctic Council