Iceland is one of eight Arctic States: Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
Those eight states form the Arctic Council, a high-level intergovernmental forum that addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic.
The 1996 Ottawa Declaration established the Arctic Council as forum for promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on issues such as sustainable development and environmental protection. The Arctic Council has conducted studies on climate change, oil and gas, and Arctic shipping.
The Council's activities are conducted in six working groups. The working groups are composed of representatives at expert level from sectoral ministries, government agencies and researchers. Their work covers a broad field of subjects, from climate change to emergency response. The focus of each Working group is:
Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP)
Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP)
Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)
Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR)
Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME)
Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG)
It is the responsibility of the Working Groups to execute the programs and projects mandated by the Arctic Council Ministers. These mandates are stated in the Ministerial Declarations, the official documents that result from Ministerial Meetings.
Two of the Working groups have secretariat in Iceland, located in Akureyri. One is CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna) and the other is PAME (Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment).
Arctic Council's webpage.