Background

The Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2018 is the second Arctic Biodiversity Congress, and builds on the great success of the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2014, held in Trondheim, Norway, which brought 450+ leaders, experts, practitioners, from 26 countries together to discuss and advance major conservation issues facing the Arctic and the world. This event received overwhelming positive feedback; a post Congress survey found that respondents rated the event as 4.3/5, or “excellent”, and that there is great anticipation amongst the Arctic science and policy community for the Arctic Biodiversity Congress, 2018 

For more information on the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2014 including the program and previous presentations, please click here.

 

The Arctic Biodiversity Congress is an event hosted by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council, and key partners. CAFF's mandate is to address the conservation of Arctic biodiversity, to communicate its findings to the governments and residents of the Arctic, and help to promote practices which ensure the sustainability of the Arctic’s living resources. The Arctic Council is a high level intergovernmental forum which promotes cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. Member States are Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States of America. In addition, six indigenous peoples’ organizations have been granted status as Permanent Participants in the Arctic Council. 

CAFF presented the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) at the Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council in Kiruna, Sweden, in May 2013. The ABA report contains the best available science informed by traditional ecological knowledge on the status and trends of Arctic biodiversity and accompanying policy recommendations for biodiversity conservation. The key findings of the ABA deal with the significance of climate change as the most serious underlying driver of overall change in biodiversity, the necessity of taking an ecosystem-based approach to management, and the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity by making it integral to other policy fields, for example, in development, plans and operations.

The Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna welcomed the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA), the first Arctic-wide comprehensive assessment of status and emerging trends in Arctic biodiversity, approved its recommendations encouraged Arctic States to follow up on its recommendations, and instructed Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) to ensure that a plan for further work under the Arctic Council to support and implement its recommendations is developed, and that a progress report is delivered to the next ministerial meeting (scheduled for 2015). CAFF will report to the SAOs on progress and deliverables related to implementation and an implementation plan, and related tasks are included in the CAFF Work Plan for 2013-15. Canada and Norway are lead countries on developing an implementation plan for the recommendations from the ABA.

There are also important linkages between ABA efforts and the further development and implementation of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP), CAFF’s cornerstone program. The findings in the ABA will also contribute to other Arctic Council work related to protecting the Arctic environment and to sustainable development based on Arctic ecosystems. This includes Arctic Council activities such as the project on Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic (AACA) and international fora such as the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 being developed by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The ABA was be used as a basis for developing thematic biodiversity reports and for specific items in CAFF’s Actions for Arctic Biodiversity 2013-2021: implementing the recommendations of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, a long-term strategic plan for how the Arctic Council addresses issues of biodiversity conservation.

CAFF has concluded that a larger public event can contribute to present ABA findings in more depth to key audiences and to strengthen the knowledge basis for implementation of ABA recommendations. Such science-policy interface events have also been arranged around previous Arctic Council assessments, for example the conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification which was held in Bergen, Norway, in May 2013.

 
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