The Forum has been established by the eight Arctic States (Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States) to help raise awareness and to promote the effective implementation of the International Maritime Organization's International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code), a mandatory international framework that increases the safety of ship operations and mitigate the impact on the people and the vulnerable environment in Polar waters. The Polar Code came into force in January 2017.
The Forum was referenced in the Arctic Council’s Ministerial Declaration in Fairbanks, Alaska on 11 May 2017, signed by the foreign ministers of the eight Arctic States.
In the Declaration, the Arctic States welcomed:
“ the entry into force of the Polar Code to ensure safe and environmentally sound shipping in the harsh Arctic marine environment, and encourage continued engagement by Arctic States, including at the International Maritime Organization, to facilitate harmonized implementation and enforcement of the Polar Code, and note with appreciation the establishment of the Arctic Shipping Best Practices Information Forum to promote the implementation of the Code”
The International code of safety for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code) covers the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in the inhospitable waters surrounding the two poles.
Convened under the auspices of the Arctic Council's Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), the Forum aims to make publicly available, at a single web portal, information to support effective implementation of the Polar Code.
In addition to Arctic Council members, including Arctic States, Permanent Participants and Observers, the Forum was attended by a wide spectrum of stakeholders with an interest in Arctic shipping. In particular, industry has played a key role in shaping the Forum, with significant input from maritime organizations and insurers, including Lloyd’s of London, and Lloyd’s Register.
Mr. Ashok Mahapatra, Director of the Maritime Safety Division of the International Maritime Organization, gave an address emphasising the importance of compiling information to assist in effective implementation of and compliance with the Polar Code.
Finland’s Anita Makinen, the Forum Chair said:
“The inaugural meeting of the Arctic Shipping Best Practices Information Forum is an important milestone in identifying and gathering information to support safe and environmentally responsible Arctic shipping.”
She went on to say, “The input of so many stakeholders in the Forum demonstrates the importance of working in a collaborative approach to support the effective implementation of international regulations.”
The PAME deliverables for the 2017 Ministerial Meeting are the following:
- PAME MPA-network toolbox: Area-based conservation measures and ecological connectivity
- Indicator Report on Arctic Protected Areas (CAFF/PAME)
- Arctic Invasive Alien Species Strategy and Action Plan (ARIAS) (CAFF/PAME)
- Final report on the Regional Reception Facilities plan and draft submission for IMO
- Cooperative Agreement among the Arctic States Regarding Arctic Ship Traffic Data Sharing
- Status of Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach to Management in the Arctic
- PAME Work Plan 2017-2019
- PAME Main Achievements 2015-2017
- 4th AMSA Implementation Progress Report for the period 2015-2017.
- Terms of Reference for the Arctic Shipping Best Practices Information Forum.
- Meaningful Engagement of Indigenous Peoples and Communities in Marine Activities (MEMA) Part I Report.
- MEMA Workshop Report.
- The 2015 – 2017 Progress Report of the Joint Ecosystem Approach Expert Group (EA-EG).
- The Summary Report of the International Science and Policy Conference on the Status of Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach in the Arctic.
- 1st Report on progress/implementation of the 2015-2025 Arctic Marine Strategic Plan (AMSP).
The picture on the right shows six current Working Group Chairs, five current Working Group executive secretaries, and two incoming Working Group Chairs, preparing to assume their duties. From left to right, Jens-Peter Holst Andersen, Ulrik Westman, Bernard Funston, Lars-Otto Reiersen, Soffía Guðmundsdóttir (PAME Executive Secretary), Renée Sauvé (PAME Chair), Tom Barry, Patti Bruns, Martin Forsius, Reidar Hindrum, Amy Merten, Pekka Shemeikka, and Roberta Burns.
Below is a press release from the Arctic Council after the meeting.
Juneau, Alaska, U.S.A.
Thursday, 9 March 2017
Senior officials from the Arctic Council’s eight Member States and six indigenous Permanent Participant organizations (PPs) met in Juneau in preparation for the upcoming Fairbanks Ministerial meeting, which will take place on 11 May 2017.
"At this week's meeting we reviewed the impressive body of work completed by the Working Groups and Task Forces over the past two years. These initiatives underlined the significant and growing role the Arctic Council plays in the sustainable development and environmental protection of the Arctic, and its work to improve the lives of those in Arctic communities. The meeting also leaves us poised for a successful Ministerial meeting in May, when the Chairmanship of the Council will transfer from the United States to Finland," said Ambassador David Balton, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials.
At this meeting, the Senior Arctic Officials approved and welcomed a wide array of projects and reports of the Council’s Working Groups and Task Forces in preparation for the upcoming Ministerial meeting, including:
- The “State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report,” a comprehensive report on the status and trends of marine biodiversity and monitoring in Arctic marine areas,
- The “Arctic Protected Areas Indicator Report,” an inventory of terrestrial and marine protected areas that summarizes the status and trends towards achieving global protected area targets,
- The “Arctic Regional Reception Facilities Plan,” a proposed waste management plan for ship-generated wastes intended to help the Arctic States meet their obligations under the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and standards linked to the new Polar Code,
- Survey results and policy recommendations on the OneHealth approach,
- A searchable database of equipment assets available for response to emergencies in the Arctic,
- An update of the report “Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic,” and
- A project to reduce emissions of black carbon from a diesel-fueled, off-grid power source at a reindeer farm in the Russian Arctic.
Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, also attended the meeting, providing an update on the IMO’s Polar Code. The Arctic Council Observers also delivered brief remarks during the meeting.
At the meeting, Finland unveiled the program for its 2017-2019 Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, which focuses on addressing the effects of climate change and fostering sustainable development. The proposed priorities include environmental protection, meteorological cooperation, connectivity, and education in the Arctic.
Almost 80 people participated in the biggest PAME WG meeting in history.
The meeting was hosted by the Kingdom of Denmark and was honoured to receive welcoming remarks from Hanne Fugl Eskjær, Senior Arctic Official of Kingdom of Denmark and Lida Skifte Lennert, Head of Representation from Greenland.
Among topics was finalisation of what projects to include in the PAME 2017-2019 Work Plan. Other topics included:
- Framework for a Pan-Arctic Network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
- Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, follow up
- Arctic Offshore Resource Exploration and Development
- Ecosystem Approach to Management
- Preparations for the 2017 Ministerial Meeting
PAME I-2017 meeting report.
The co-leads of PAME's Shipping Expert Group took part in a communication seminar in Korea in December. The seminar between PAME and Korean experts took place as a part of the 2016 Arctic Partnership Week at the Korea Maritime Institute in Busan.
PAME's shipping expert group is co-led by USA and Canada. Peter Oppenheimer (NOAA) and Drummond Fraser (Transport Canada) presented PAME's work in Korea and took part in discussions on related topics.
The PAME presentation included an overview of PAME's shipping related work in recent years and next steps, including a presentation on the Arctic Ship Traffic Data project.
Click here to download the presentation.
Click here to download the Seminar report.
The Korean Maritime Institute (KMI) has translated into Korean the 2015 Progress Report on Implementation of the 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) Report Recommendations which is the third biennial effort by the Arctic Council’s Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment to document and track progress in implementing the 17 recommendations in the AMSA Report approved by Arctic Council Ministers.
This translation contributes to increased awareness and outreach of tracking the progress of Arctic shipping related initiatives within the Arctic Council and demonstrates increased collaborative efforts by PAME with an Arctic Council observer state.
Click here to download the PAME I 2016 meeting report.
The meeting produces a report stating the Records of decisions (RoDs). They also indicate status of specific projects and next steps. The meeting report includes the RoDs, the list of participants, the meeting agenda and the list of documents at the meeting.
Click here to download the PAME I 2016 meeting report.
Four PAME expert groups met and worked on specific issues in Stockholm, the Shipping expert group, the Marine Protected Areas expert group, the Oil and Gas contact group and the joint Ecosystem Approach to management expert group. The expert group on Arctic Shipping Traffic Data was also represented, working on its project on collecting ship traffic data. The expert groups met on Sunday, the PAME meeting was held on Monday through Wednesday. Many delegates also particpated in the Arctic Council Task Force on Arctic Marine Cooperation, held on Thursday and Friday.
The picture below is from the PAME meeting in Stockholm, courtesy of Dana Eidsness:
This first plenary meeting of the Council during the U.S. Chairmanship (2015-2017) addressed:
- The Council’s work on black carbon and methane;
- Adaptation to Arctic change, including the large-scale project “Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic”;
- Arctic biodiversity, including implementation of the recommendations contained in the landmark “Arctic Biodiversity Assessment” (2013) and consideration of Arctic ecosystem services;
- Best practices for small communities to prevent, prepare for, or respond to natural or human-caused accidents in the Arctic;
- Efforts to reduce the incidence of suicide among Arctic Indigenous peoples;
- The Council’s work on the Arctic Ocean, including the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan 2015-2025; and
- Follow-up work to the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic, signed in 2013 (MOSPA).
More wide-ranging discussions also covered:
- The Council’s work on climate change and oceans;
- The ways in which Traditional and Local Knowledge (TLK) is considered and used in the Council’s work;
- Strengthening the Council’s work by defining how the Council relates to external bodies; and
- Strengthening the capacity of the six Permanent Participant organizations to engage in, and contribute to, the Council’s work at all levels.
Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials Ambassador David Balton said: “The Arctic Council is rising to the challenge of meeting significantly greater expectations. With attention on the Arctic region at an all-time high, this meeting demonstrated the ability of the Arctic Council to bring together Arctic States, Arctic Indigenous representatives and a large number of Observers to work toward a safer, healthier and sustainable Arctic.”
In addition to the official agenda, the week of the Arctic Council meetings included many complementary events hosted by the Alaska Arctic Council Host Committee and other organizations in Anchorage and around Alaska.
In addition, expert groups had side meetings in conjunction with the meeting, and a joint session with three other AC working groups was held for a half day.
The meeting report lists updates on PAME's activities, decisions from the meeting, the agenda and the list of participants.
Click here to download the meeting report.