International Cooperation for Addressing the Arctic Challenge

Saturday, 15 February 2014
Toronto (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Lars-Otto Reisersen , Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program , Oslo, Norway
AMAP was initiated in 1991 by Ministers from the eight Arctic countries and was tasked to monitor and assess the pollution of the Arctic, including effects of climate change on Arctic ecosystems and humans. In the following decade several international and regional initiatives where established to handle the new situation in the Arctic after the end of the cold war. Several of these initiatives had overlapping focus and priority areas, e.g. to assist the transition in Russia. The opening of the Arctic sea in the summer due to melt of sea ice has increased possibilities for cross Arctic shipping and increased resource extraction from the Arctic. This situation has led to a new interest for the Arctic. Over the last years several countries in Asia and Europe has asked to be observer to the Arctic Council and to take part in the work performed by the Arctic Councils working groups.

Since 1993 AMAP has delivered more than 30 scientific and technical assessments. This work has mainly been performed by experts from the eight Arctic countries and the arctic indigenous peoples, but also experts nominated by the observing countries and organizations to the Arctic Council and AMAP. Involvement of international organizations has been extremely important for this work to secure cost efficiency, to avoid duplication of work and to get access to relevant data and information. However, the involvement of all these experts and organizations has been an interesting challenge due to different cultures and interests.

The results from AMAP’s assessments have played a significant role in the establishment of international protocols and conventions, and to provide food advice to Arctic indigenous peoples.

This presentation will give a short overview of the process that has taken place since the cold war, provide some of the results achieved and discuss some of the challenges and opportunities for the future. All AMAP assessment reports are available from the AMAP web site .