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.
The PAME Working Group is meeting in Tromsö, Norway, this week. Over 60 delegates will take part in the meeting, while numerous other meetings take part, including within PAME expert groups.
This week sees an unprecedented gathering of four of the Arctic Council’s six Working Groups at the same time. The others are ACAP (Arctic Contaminants Action Program), AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme), CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna).
While the four Working Groups will meet in parallel for much of the week, all four will come together for a session on Wednesday to discuss cross-cutting issues. The Chair of Senior Arctic Officials, Amb. David Balton, will take part in the joint meeting on Wednesday, including offering welcoming remarks.
Click here to download the program.
PAME is one of the orginising partners, along with the International Maritime Organization and the World Maritime University.
The opening address will be delivered by Mr. Koji Sekimizu, IMO Secretary-General and key note speakers include Dr. David Carlson, Dr. Lawson Brigham, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez and Dr. David VanderZwaag. The first day is devoted to key note speakers on varios different topics. The day will conclude with an icebreaker reception and a poster session.
The second day will feature six themes:
- The Polar Code: Implementation & Compliance Assurance
- Beyond the Polar Code
- Arctic Governance
- Sustainable Arctic Business Development
- Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment
- Training, Capacity-Building, Science & Research
The third day will highlight the key points on the conference through rapporteurs and a panel discussions.
Click here to download the program.
PAME has released a workshop report from the Ecosystem approach expert group. The 5th EA workshop was held in Bergen, Norway, in May 2015. The focus of the workshop was on the topic of ecological objectives which is addressed through summaries and reviews of existing management objectives related to living resources and the environment in current management systems and legislation, and by reviewing the state-of-the-art in developing more comprehensive sets of ecological objectives.
Click here to download the report.
The workshop objectives were to:
1. Review existing management objectives for use of living and non-living resources, environmental protection and nature conservation in national legislation and management systems.
2. Review developments and methodologies for defining a comprehensive set of ecological objectives as a step in implementing a more holistic management approach, e.g. the EA.
3. Review/learn about the principles and values embedded in the use and management of living resources and the broader environment by indigenous peoples of the Arctic.
“The conference will be a major event for PAME and the Arctic Council this year. Preparations begun last year and the schedule is very exciting,” Soffía Guðmundsdóttir, the executive secretary of PAME said.
Amongst key speakers are leading scholars who have participated in PAME’s work. One of them is Dr. Lawson Brigham who was the co-editor of of the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) and served as a vice chair of PAME from 2005-2009.
Another is David VanderZwaag, who co-leading the writing of the Governance of the Arctic Shipping chapter of the AMSA report. “We are thrilled to have such high-level participation from PAME and numerous of our experts will be attending as well. There should be dialogue among our leading people in Malmö,” Soffía said.
There are six themes to the conference. The Polar Code: Implementation & Compliance Assurance; Beyond the Polar Code; Arctic Governance; Sustainable Arctic Business Development; Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment; Training, Capacity-Building, Science & Research.
“In our preparations we decided to focus on six themes for this conference. We could have chosen many others as the topic is broad, but we felt that these six themes are current and appropriate. The conference is title Safe and Sustainable shipping in a changing Arctic Environment and the scene is certainly under constant evolvement.”
“We have two themes that discuss the Polar Code which was recently adopted by the IMO. The Polar Code has been anticipated for some time and this will be the prefect venue to introduce it and discuss its role in Arctic shipping. IMO’s experts and others will present it and discussions on what happens next will take place.”
See the conference website for more information. Registration is ongoing and Malmö is only a 20-minute train ride from Copenhagen.
The PAME Working Group recently appointed a new chair, Renée Sauvé of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Renée has been involved with PAME for several years and will chair the working group for the next two years. At this occation, the Arctic Council website interviewed Renée, which is reposted here at the PAME website.
Q: What is your background, and how is it that you came to be the chair of PAME?
I am a biologist by training and spent the early part of my career in the Canadian Arctic. I spent a number of years involved in researching Arctic fish stocks and their habitat, and conducting impact assessments. Later I transitioned to international policy work and ended up working at Canada's foreign ministry when the Ottawa Declaration was developed and signed in 1996, formally marking the establishment of the Arctic Council. Since that time I have been part of the Canadian delegation to PAME, representing my current department - Fisheries and Oceans Canada - and in more recent years I have had the opportunity to lead Canada's delegation to PAME. It has been a while since Canada chaired PAME, and I think my technical background and long history with PAME has made me well-placed to help provide some guidance for the Working Group over the next couple of years. I’m very much looking forward to the ambitious marine agenda ahead.
Q: What element of your role as PAME chair are you most looking forward to?
As a Working Group Chair you have opportunities to interact more directly with SAOs and are a bit closer to the Chairmanship. I look forward to being more directly involved in some of the higher-profile Chairmanship priorities, and having the chance to work closely with the other Working Group Chairs. PAME has many representatives who have been involved with the Working Group for a number of years, so it is a very friendly environment and I am looking forward to working with this group of people on a forward-looking agenda.
Q: What are one or two of the most important challenges within PAME’s area of work in the years ahead?
The Arctic is very much a marine world. The vast majority of communities are coastal, and people depend on the marine environment for food, work, and transportation. The Arctic Ocean is at the center of life - including culturally - in the region, and is a key determinant of its future. However, the Arctic marine environment is demonstrating unprecedented changes, some fundamental such as changes in its chemistry – for example, ocean acidification – or emerging economic change with increased maritime activity. The challenge for PAME is to try and stay current with advice to Ministers in the face of this rapid change. These changes have also come with increased world attention on the Arctic, bringing with it growing expectations of the Arctic countries. All of this makes for a challenging work environment, trying to develop helpful guidance with respect to the conservation and use of the Arctic marine environment.
Q: How will PAME be working to tackle those challenges?
It is very important that PAME stay current on the latest science and knowledge of trends in the Arctic marine environment. Good work in this regard is happening through AMAP and CAFF (the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme and Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, both also Arctic Council Working Groups), and we really need to make sure that our marine experts are connecting with experts from the other Working Groups. There is an increased emphasis on the need to implement integrated, ecosystem approaches. I would like to advance greater cross-Working Group collaboration over the next couple of years. I would also like see advances in cross-border collaboration in the near term, linking up marine management measures, helping to show a regional picture of what the Arctic States are doing. The idea of greater regional cooperation is a particular focus during the U.S. Chairmanship through the Task Force on Arctic Marine Cooperation. PAME has done a good degree of work in this regard, it will be important to ensure that PAME's work is taken into account and informs the work of the Task Force.
The following are the PAME deliverables to the ministerial meeting:
- The Arctic Marine Tourism Project (AMTP) Best Practice Guidelines
- The Arctic Marine Strategic Plan (AMSP) 2015-2025.
- The Framework for a Pan-Arctic Network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
- PAME Work Plan 2015-2017.
- The Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Guidelines: Systems Safety Management and Safety Culture Report.
- Status on Implementation of the 2009 AMSA Report Recommendations
- Ecosystem Approach Progress Report.
Furthermore, PAME released a summary report for its 2013-2015 activities. Click here to download the summary report.
In addition PAME also released a new brochure about PAME. Click here to download the brochure.
As an increasingly ice-diminished environment in the Arctic accelerates interest in and potential for new maritime trade routes, merchant transportation and related activities, and resource development such as mining, oil & gas exploration and fishing - all of which will involve increased shipping activity - ShipArc 2015 will provide a timely opportunity to address pressing issues regarding the rapidly changing Arctic environment.
The IMO adopted the safety components of International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) in November 2014 (the environmental components are expected to be adopted in May 2015), and safe and environmentally sound Arctic shipping has long been an important subject for PAME. The WMU plays a key role in conducting research on and building capacity in Arctic issues and governance.
As the pace of development and related activity in the Arctic marine environment challenges the world’s capacity to prepare for it in a safe and sustainable way, ShipArc 2015 will provide a timely opportunity to engage a range of stakeholders including industry (e.g. resource development, tourism, fisheries), those most impacted by Arctic shipping (e.g., coastal communities, indigenous peoples) and those responsible for its sustainable management, in an international symposium to discuss a forward-looking regulatory, governance, research and capacity-building agenda that will define and assist with supporting safe and sustainable shipping in a changing Arctic environment.
The opening address for the event will be delivered by IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu. Themes to be addressed throughout the three-day event include:
• The Polar Code: Implementation & Compliance Assurance
• Beyond the Polar Code
• Arctic Governance
• Sustainable Arctic Business Development
• Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment
• Training, Capacity-Building, Science & Research
Call for Papers
Safe and Sustainable Shipping in a Changing Arctic Environment (ShipArc 2015)
Date: 25-27 August 2015
Location: Malmö, Sweden
Conference website: wmu.se/events/shiparc-2015
The World Maritime University
The World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden is a postgraduate maritime university founded in 1983 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The aim of WMU is to further enhance the objectives and goals of IMO and IMO member states around the world through education, research, and capacity building to ensure safe, secure, and efficient shipping on clean oceans. WMU is truly an organization by and for the international maritime community.
Contact: Maia Brindley Nilsson
World Maritime University
(+46) 40 356314
The Arctic Council
The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum that addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic. It has eight member countries: Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. (www.arctic-council.org/index.php/en/)
PAME Working Group of the Arctic Council
The Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) is one of six Working Groups of the Arctic Council that provides a unique forum for collaboration amongst Arctic member governments, its six Permanent Participant organizations, accredited Observers and other Arctic stakeholders, on a wide range of activities focused on protection of the Arctic marine environment, all of which contribute to the advancement of the Council’s agenda. (pame.is/)
International Maritime Organization (IMO)
As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented. (www.imo.org)
“Canada has put Northerners at the forefront of the Arctic Council’s agenda”, said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Chair of the Arctic Council and Canada’s Minister for the Arctic Council, Minister of the Environment and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. “Under our chairmanship, the Council has prioritized actions that will better the lives of Arctic residents”.
In Whitehorse, Senior Arctic Officials and Permanent Participants heard from the Arctic Council’s working groups and task forces on the progress being made on the Arctic Council’s ambitious program of work, including the priority initiatives under the Canadian chairmanship theme ‘Development for the People of the North’. These priorities include: ensuring responsible economic development in the Arctic; promoting circumpolar mental wellness; incorporating traditional and local knowledge into the work of the Council; and developing actions on marine oil pollution prevention and on short-lived climate pollutants – in particular, black carbon and methane.
Many projects and deliverables were approved for delivery to the April 24-25, 2015 Iqaluit Ministerial, including projects that promote sustainable development, protect biodiversity, enhance emergency preparedness and response, protect the marine environment, and assess and address pollutants in the Arctic.
“This meeting was particularly important as it was the final Senior Arctic Officials’ meeting during Canada’s chairmanship,” said Vincent Rigby, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials. “We are now in an excellent position to deliver ambitious results in Iqaluit. As always, I am pleased with the high level of cooperation shown by all of our Arctic Council partners.”
The Iqaluit 2015 Ministerial Meeting will mark the conclusion of Canada’s second chairmanship of the Arctic Council and the beginning of the second US chairmanship. The first Ministerial Meeting was also held in Iqaluit at the conclusion of Canada’s first Chairmanship (1996-1998).
While in Whitehorse, the Arctic Council also presented a public outreach event at Yukon College focusing on the Council’s work to address black carbon and methane emissions in the Arctic and to develop an online climate change adaptation portal.