The Regional Action Plan will address both sea and land-based activities, focusing on Arctic-specific marine litter sources and pathways that will play an important role in demonstrating Arctic States’ stewardship efforts towards reducing the negative impacts of marine litter, including microplastics, to the Arctic marine environment.
The Regional Action Plan may be updated in subsequent bienniums to address new and emerging information and priorities; therefore, the structure needs to be realistic and adaptable.
- Develop a first version of a Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter in the Arctic based on the Desktop Study on Marine Litter (Phase I) and other resources and information, as relevant and specific to the Arctic.
- Collaborate with other Arctic Council Working Groups working on marine litter activities, such as AMAP’s work on monitoring, CAFF’s work on impacts of marine litter on wildlife, ACAP’s work on solid waste management, and others as relevant to marine litter in the Arctic to ensure that this work is adaquetly reflected in the first version of the Regional Action Plan.
- Continue the development of outreach and communication material.
PAME conducted the “Desktop Study on Marine Litter, including Microplastics in the Arctic” as part of the first phase of a Marine Litter Project included in the 2017-2019 Work Plan. This Study contains five sections:
- Rationale, Objectives and Geographic Scope
- Applicable Governance Frameworks;
- Literature Review;
- Knowledge Gaps; and
- Main Findings and Next Steps
The development of the Desktop Study was driven by the need to better understand the state of knowledge of marine litter in the Arctic. The objectives of the Desktop Study are to:
- evaluate the scope of marine litter in the Arctic and its effects on the Arctic marine environment;
- enhance knowledge and awareness of marine litter in the Arctic;
- enhance cooperation by the eight Arctic States to reduce negative impacts of marine litter on the Arctic marine environment; and
- contribute to the prevention and/or reduction of marine litter pollution in the Arctic and its impact on marine organisms, habitats, public health and safety, and to reduce the socioeconomic costs litter causes.
The Desktop Study improves our understanding of the status and impacts of marine litter, including microplastics, in the Arctic region. This kind of compilation has not previously been done for the entire Arctic region and is by no means comprehensive.
Section II contains a brief review of the governance frameworks applicable to combatting marine litter, including not only Arctic Council efforts, but also other international and regional instruments designed explicitly either to tackle marine litter or address pollution more broadly.
The core of the report, Section III, is a literature review that considers the sources, drivers, and pathways of marine litter, including microplastics, entering the marine environment, information on current knowledge of its distribution, how it interacts with and impacts marine biota, and efforts underway to monitor marine litter. In Section IV, the Study identifies a number of knowledge gaps before summarizing main findings and possible next steps in Section V.
The Desktop Study identifies potential next steps to further examine and address marine litter, including microplastics, in the Arctic Ocean and inform future work under the Arctic Council as summarized in Section V. "There is a need for more comprehensive knowledge on Arctic-specific marine litter, including microplastics, sources, pathways, and distribution, as well as effects on the Arctic marine environment. Developing a Regional Action Plan (RAP) on marine litter in the Arctic is timely, recognizing that the RAP can be modified over time based on the state of knowledge. Developing a monitoring program as part of, or in parallel to, the development of a RAP is particularly valuable to establish a baseline of marine litter, understand changes in distribution and composition, and inform decision-making."
To do so, PAME's Shipping Expert Group launched a project in 2017 to develop a framework for more systematically engaging Observers in its shipping-related work within the parameters of the Arctic Council Rules of Procedures and supplementary guidance regarding Observers.
Since its initial approval as a project in PAME's 2017-2019 Work Plan, the co-leads (USA, Poland, South, Korea, Italy, and Northern Forum) have inventoried the ways in which Observers have contributed to PAME's shipping work, conducted a survey to identify challenges and impediments, and most recently held a workshop attended by more than 30 people at which a brainstorming exercise sought to flag options and opportunities for overcoming those challenges and impediments in a regularized, transparent, and comprehensive manner.
Participant in the workshop, pictured above, came from 10 of the 13 Arctic Council observer countries; India, Spain, United Kingdom, Poland, France, Switzwerland, the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea and Singapore.
The target outcome of the project is a written framework can that serve as a roadmap for systematic engagement with and by Observers in PAME's shipping work.
Observer Workshop agenda.
- 10.00 - Hjalti and Michael
- 11.00 - Chris Oliver
- 11.15 - Rob Hindley
- 13.15 - Sascha Pristrom
- 13.30 - Jan Reinert Vestvik
- 14.00 - Knut Espen
- 14.15 - Vladimir Kuzmin
- 14.30 - John Lloyd
- 15.15 - Francesco Santangelo
Day 2: June 4th