The Álgu Fund
Álgu in the Saami language means “beginning”.
The Arctic Council gives Indigenous peoples voice to be heard on international issues, so that the decisions and the research that informs them are shaped by those who are affected most by them and are inclusive of Indigenous culture, traditions, and knowledge.
This role of Permanent Participant is in the Arctic Council’s founding document – the Ottawa Declaration (1996):
2. … The category of Permanent Participant is created to provide for active participation and full consultation with the Arctic Indigenous representatives within the Arctic Council.
However, funding is persistent and increasing barrier to full Indigenous participation in the Arctic Council as its work both speeds up and becomes more complicated in response to the staggering rate of change in the region. The challenges range from the basic requirement of attending dozens of negotiations in remote and therefore, expensive, locations across the Circumpolar Arctic to having access to scientific and technical expertise to ensure informed contributions to those discussions.
Each Ministerial declaration has given recognition to this challenge, yet it persists. What better opportunity than the twentieth anniversary of the Arctic Council to finally overcome this hurdle, so that the next twenty years are marked by robust collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic? The Álgu Fund is a vehicle to ensure that is the case.
The Álgu Fund is a charitable foundation established under Swedish law. It has two components: an endowment and a project support mechanism. The endowment’s interest will provide stable, reliable, and predictable funding on an annual basis to participating organizations to facilitate their work in support of the Arctic Council.