IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) Coverage
IISD RS has produced daily web coverage and a summary report from the Arctic Biodiversity Congress. In order to download our report, click the HTML or PDF icons below.
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Biodiversity Policy & Practice

Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2014

2-4 December 2014 | Trondheim, Norway
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Daily Web Coverage

Summary of the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2014

The Arctic Biodiversity Congress was held from 2-4 December 2014 in Trondheim, Norway. It was organized and hosted by the Arctic Council’s Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group in co-operation with the Norwegian Environment Agency, and was co-chaired by Risa Smith, chair of CAFF, Tom Barry, CAFF Secretariat, and Finn Katerås, Norwegian Environment Agency. The Congress addressed the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic biodiversity through dialogue among all relevant stakeholder groups. The meeting brought together around 450 representatives from academia, governments, industry, civil society and indigenous peoples.

The Congress aimed, among other things, to: present and discuss the main scientific findings in the 2013 Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA); provide different stakeholder groups the opportunity to collaborate around the themes of the ABA; advise CAFF on national and international implementation of the ABA recommendations and on development of an “Action for Biodiversity: Implementing the Recommendations of the ABA 2013-2021” implementation plan for the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in 2015; highlight the work of CAFF and the Arctic Council in circumpolar biodiversity conservation and sustainable development; and mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services ensuring that the recommendations of the ABA are implemented widely and across sectors.

The Congress sessions and presentations focused on three main themes: Arctic change, resilience and adaptation; mainstreaming biodiversity and linking Arctic ecosystems to society; and understanding cumulative effects and managing impacts. Additional sessions addressed case studies and scenario planning.

The IISD RS summary report for the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2014 is now available (in HTML or PDF format)

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Svalbard, Norway. Photo: Kate Harris

Funding for coverage of the Arctic Biodiversity Congress has been provided by the
Arctic Council’s Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)
CAFF


Highlights for Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Arctic Biodiversity Congress opened today in Trondheim, Norway. The meeting is co-chaired by Risa Smith, chair of the Arctic Council’s Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group, Finn Katerås, Norwegian Environment Agency, and Tom Barry, CAFF Secretariat.

Delegates heard plenary statements and a panel discussion in the morning and attended parallel sessions throughout the afternoon.

Opening addresses were delivered by: Tine Sundtoft, Minister for Climate and Environment, Norway; Vincent Rigby, chair of the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council; Áile Jávo, president of the Saami Council; Hans Meltofte, chief scientist of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment; Mette Wilkie, UN Environment Programme; Braulio De Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity; and Congress Co-Chair Risa Smith.

The afternoon parallel sessions focused on, among other things: partnerships in the Arctic, predominantly regarding oil exploration and development; the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Network; invasive species; traditional knowledge and the co-production of knowledge; polar bear management; planning for risk; and ecosystem stewardship and resilience.

Visit full Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2014 coverage for Tuesday, 2 December 2014

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Participants fill the room for the opening plenary
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Risa Smith, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Chair and Arctic Biodiversity Congress Co-Chair

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Tine Sundtoft, Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway

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Áile Jávo, President, Saami Council

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Ole Jacob Broch, SINTEF
Attentive participants in an afternoon session
John Cheechoo, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
Frank Pokiak, Inuvialuit Game Council


Highlights for Wednesday, 3 December 2014

On Wednesday morning, the Arctic Biodiversity Congress resumed with a plenary talk by Janos Pasztor, WWF International, on the theme “Arctic biodiversity begins at home."

The day included two roundtable brainstorming sessions, one in the morning on immediate and long-term action for implementing the ABA recommendations, and the other in the afternoon on the extent to which biodiversity underpins participants’ work and barriers to mainstreaming biodiversity. In the morning discussion, many participants remarked on the urgency of all 17 ABA recommendations, noting that action will only be effective if they are addressed in conjunction. Several also stressed that all recommendations require long-term actions. In the afternoon, among the barriers identified in mainstreaming biodiversity, participants noted: a lack of long-term political will and commitment; a gap between science and practice; and tension between use value and intrinsic value.

Participants also convened in multiple parallel sessions throughout the day, with themes including: ecosystem services; public education and outreach for Arctic conservation; the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme; ecological characterization and monitoring related to energy exploration and development; a pan-Arctic perspective on measuring the current and future impacts of a changing Arctic on biodiversity; and identifying and safeguarding protected and sensitive areas.

Visit full Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2014 coverage for Wednesday, 3 December 2014

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Participants filled the room for a plenary talk and roundtable discussions.
Janos Pasztor, WWF International, gave a plenary talk titled “Arctic biodiversity begins at home."
Roundtable conversations offered opportunities for participants to meet new colleagues and exchange ideas.
Participant discussions during the session on a "horizon scan of the management of Eurasian reindeer."
Edda Johannesen, Institute of Marine Research, Norway
Martin Sommerkorn, WWF Global Arctic Programme
Session on promoting public education and outreach for improved Arctic conservation.
David Klein, University of Alaska–Fairbanks, US
Neil Hamilton, Greenpeace


Highlights for Thursday, 4 December 2014

On Thursday, the final day of the Congress, participants gathered in roundtable discussions in the morning, parallel sessions throughout the day, a panel plenary discussion in the afternoon, and a closing session.

In the morning roundtables, participants were asked to propose specific “innovative and effective policies” for the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic biodiversity, and strategies for implementation, building on Wednesday’s roundtables on ABA recommendations and biodiversity mainstreaming. Participants proposed, among other ideas: expanding and improving the participation of local and indigenous peoples for true co-management; maximizing the educational benefits that tourism could provide; building on existing regional policies as a foundation for implementation of ABA recommendations; and monitoring both progress and effective practice, to learn from good examples.

Parallel sessions were held throughout the day, addressing topics including: the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI); cumulative impacts and managing change in Arctic fisheries; coastal and terrestrial activities of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme; the role of wildlife harvest in Arctic biodiversity conservation; and the impact of changing climate conditions on water-related Arctic ecosystems.

In the afternoon, participants reconvened in plenary for a panel discussion on “international cooperation and global conventions: addressing Arctic biodiversity,” with speakers from the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, UNEP, the Ramsar Convention, the Saami Council, AEWA, DIVERSITAS and the CBD.

In the closing session, Henry Huntington, The Pew Charitable Trusts, shared with the audience his own poem, which started with the following lines: “Arctic life, so diverse!/If lost, there’s no reverse/We came to Trondheim to converse–/ And now we must act.” In a brief closing address, Congress Co-Chair Risa Smith stressed that “the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment is barely the start. It cannot end there." She encouraged continued engagement of all stakeholders in CAFF and Arctic Council activities, and closed the Congress at 6pm.

Visit full Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2014 coverage for Thursday, 4 December 2014

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A panel discussion on “International cooperation and global conventions: addressing Arctic biodiversity” featured representatives from Multilateral Environmental Agreements and indigenous organizations. L-R: Inge Thaulow, Government of Greenland; Spike Millington, East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership; Mette Wilkie, UNEP; Tobias Salathe, Ramsar; Gunn-Britt Retter, Saami Council; Jacques Trouvilliez, AEWA; Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard, DIVERSITAS; and Braulio de Souza Dias, CBD.
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Gary Saunders,
University of New Brunswick, Canada
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Qaiyaan Harcharek, North Slope Borough, US
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Nicola Crockford, BirdLife International/RSPB
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Audience member asks a question in the session on "The role of wildlife harvest in Arctic biodiversity conservation."
Natasia Levi, Village of Lower Kalskag
Peter Pouplier, Danish Geodata Agency, asks a question during the panel discussion.
Frank Pokiak, Inuvialuit Game Council, comments during the panel discussion.
Closing remarks by Risa Smith, CAFF Chair and Arctic Biodiversity Congress Co-Chair
Poem composed by Henry Huntington, The Pew Charitable Trusts, to commemorate the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2014.

Related Links
Congress Resources

*Congress Website *Congress Program
*Congress Goals *Congress Background
*CAFF and Arctic Council Information *CAFF website
*Arctic Council Website


IISD RS Resources

*IISD RS coverage of Seventh Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity - “Ecology and Economy for a Sustainable Society”, 27-31 May 2013, Trondheim, Norway

*BIODIVERSITY-L - A Mailing List for News on Biodiversity and Wildlife Policy

*Biodiversity Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing International Biodiversity Policy

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