EBM9: Biodiversity as a fundamental component of environmental impact assessments and land use planning

Date: Thursday October 11, 2018

Location: Kero, Lappia Hall

Time: 10:30-12:00

The session will include presentations that focus on how biodiversity issues are linked with Environmental Impact Assessments in the Arctic. How biodiversity issues can be included most efficiently? What methods exist for this? Akwé: Kon Guidelines and experiences of their implementation in Finland are shared and refined in the discussion. Presentations from a variety of perspectives will be followed by a roundtable discussion.

Chairs: Peter Convey, British Antarctic Survey

Format: Series of presentations followed by discussion


  1. Good practice recommendations for EIA and public participation in the Arctic: Päivi A. Karvinen, Ministry of the Environment, Finland pdf
  2. Biodiversity Convention and Akwé: Kon Guidelines in the Arctic – Incorporating traditional knowledge based cultural, environmental and social impact assessment into existing EIA procedures: Assi Harkoma, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland pdf
  3. Monitoring in Arctic Ecosystem-based Management:  Opportunities in Collaboration and Governance: Shailyn Drukis, Canadian Committee for IUCN 
  4. Pan-arctic wildlife monitoring: stakeholder needs and gaps in driver representation in socio-ecological systems: Helen Wheeler, Anglia Ruskin University, UK 
  5. Area protection in and around Antarctica – lessons from the other pole: Peter Convey, British Antarctic Survey pdf


Good practice recommendations for EIA and public participation in the Arctic

Seija Rantakallio, Ministry of the Environment, Finland

The Arctic EIA Project - Good Practice Recommendations for Environmental Impact Assessment and Public Participation in the Arctic - has been working under the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council since May 2017. What is the State of Play of the Project? How are biodiversity issues linked with the Project? An introduction to the theme.


Biodiversity Convention and Akwé: Kon Guidelines in the Arctic – Incorporating traditional knowledge based cultural, environmental and social impact assessment into existing EIA procedures

Assi Harkoma, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland; Leena Heinämäki, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland

Akwé: Kon Guidelines are 1) a participatory tool, 2) traditional knowledge-based impact assessment tool and 3) knowledge co-production mechanism designed for Indigenous Peoples. The Guidelines provide a collaborative framework ensuring the full involvement of indigenous and local communities in the assessment of cultural, environmental and social impact of proposed developments on sacred sites and on lands and waters they have traditionally occupied. Moreover, guidance provides how to take into account traditional knowledge, innovations and practices as part of the impact assessment processes and promote the use of appropriate technologies. The objective is to produce knowledge on the impacts of the proposed developments and thereby help to prevent negative impacts to biodiversity as well as Indigenous Peoples' culture and livelihoods. Finland is the first country in the world to apply Akwé: Kon Guidelines in environmental decision-making processes. What are the Finnish experiences? How to extend the use of guidelines to other countries? What EIAs can and learn and adapt from Akwé: Kon?


Monitoring in Arctic Ecosystem-based Management:  Opportunities in Collaboration and Governance

Scott Slocombe, Wilfrid Laurier University; Shailyn Drukis

Ecosystem-based approaches are an important strategy for land, sea and resource management. They have been widely applied, but can be challenging to implement for a range of conceptual and practical reasons, including missing information and public support. Good information on biodiversity and ecosystems is essential to protected areas, wildlife conservation, tourism management, and environmental impact assessment, among other activities central to ecosystem-based management and arctic system sustainability. Drawing on a review of the experience of biodiversity and ecosystem monitoring in ecosystem-based approaches in the Arctic, we explore the history, challenges, and opportunities in developing and maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem monitoring and data programs for ecosystem-based management. This review will draw on a specific case-study or two. Challenges such as capacity and cost, seasonality, reactive data gathering, sensitive data, the complexity of ecosystem-based approaches, and governance and coordination wil be discussed. Possible approaches include short and long-term monitoring programs, participatory approaches such as wildlife cameras and citizen science, collaboration with research institutes and international networks, building on existing experience, and cooperative governance and education. Data and monitoring not only can facilitate conserving nature and resources, but also can facilitate connecting to people and collaborating with partners at a range of scales, both key elements of ecosystem-based approaches. This paper contributes to the conference goals of mainstreaming biodiversity and facilitating implementation by policymakers, in part by identifying ways for scientific, policy, NGO, academia and industry audiences to collaborate. It specifically supports Arctic Biodiversity Assessment recommendations 3 and 4 around mainstreaming biodiversiry and advancing ecosystem-based management in the Arctic.


Pan-arctic wildlife monitoring: stakeholder needs and gaps in driver representation in socio-ecological systems

Helen Wheeler, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

Under rapid climatic, ecological and socio-economic changes, arctic wildlife faces complex interacting stressors and effective wildlife monitoring is needed. As the community of individuals involved in monitoring expands, we need higher-level frameworks to maximise monitoring effectiveness for a broader set of biodiversity- and human-related needs. Using stakeholder interviews and spatial analyses (focussed on seabirds), we provide a cross-stakeholder analysis of the desired outcomes from arctic monitoring and assess the distribution of monitoring sites across different drivers of change. In doing so, we highlight the current monitoring needs for, and gaps in, arctic monitoring. To assess stakeholder monitoring needs, we interviewed 29 individuals who were either scientists, policy/decision-makers, representatives of Indigenous organisations or NGOs. We identified 18 desired monitoring outcomes, driven by either information from monitoring, the process of monitoring or a combination of the two. We identified key desired outcomes of arctic monitoring in socio-ecological systems such as “Make decisions”, “Conserve”, “Detect Change”, “Disseminate” and “Secure food”, and a number of emerging themes, such as “Govern”. Network analysis revealed a low strength of perceived links between information-driven and derived outcomes and process-driven and derived outcomes. The observed disconnect between information- and process-derived outcomes highlights the need to better integrate monitoring processes (aimed at engaging stakeholders and increasing participation) with the information derived outcomes from monitoring (such as decision-making and conservation). To assess gaps in wildlife monitoring across drivers of change, we performed a spatial analysis of locations of seabird breeding colony monitoring sites. We assessed the distribution of monitoring sites over different drivers of change relative to coastal conditions across the Arctic and the distribution of known breeding colonies. We use this to demonstrate biases in monitoring geographically and towards certain areas of driver-space. We discuss the relative representation of a number of anthropogenic, climatic and ecological drivers of change in arctic monitoring. Our work contributes to the ABA recommendation of ‘Improving knowledge and public awareness’ and also cuts across other themes such as ‘Climate change’, ‘Ecosystem-based management’ and ‘Addressing individual stressors on biodiversity’. Through our analysis of stakeholder needs, we provide recommendations to create more meaningful stakeholder participation and a set of goals to drive how, what and where we monitor. Through our spatial analysis, we assess key gaps in scientific knowledge in relation to monitoring coverage and representation, which affect our ability to identify responses to climate change and other stressors to inform stewardship and ecosystem-based management.


Area protection in and around Antarctica – lessons from the other pole

Peter Convey, British Antarctic Survey; Kevin Hughes, British Antarctic Survey

The Antarctic Treaty area, located south of latitude 60oS, is governed by consensus through the Antarctic Treaty System, while biologically-related lower latitude sub-Antarctic islands fall under national sovereignty. Area protection, with the exception of large marine protected areas, is agreed through the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Antarctic Specially Protected Areas (ASPAs) can protect a range of values. Of 72 ASPAs that have been created in the past 52 years, 76% included in their justification the protection of Antarctic terrestrial communities. However, the current ASPA network is far from representative of the region’s biodiversity and has been assessed as inadequate and under threat. In particular, the recent definition of at least 16 distinct Antarctic Biogeographic Conservation Regions within Antarctica means that large parts of terrestrial Antarctica receive no or almost no formal protection at all. In general, ASPAs have been designated historically at locations close to research stations, with only five of the 29 Treaty Consultative Parties (nations) acting as proponents for over 80% of existing ASPAs. However, despite the rate of ASPA designation declining in the past decade, the situation is evolving. ASPAs are starting to be proposed by consortia of nations, increasingly at locations remote from research stations, and in response to climate change threats. Nations previously not involved in ASPA designation are becoming more involved in their management. Finally, recent work has shown that the logistical capacity exists to protect areas across all of the bioregions currently identified within the continent. While governance mechanisms are clearly different between the Arctic and Antarctica, the requirements of and challenges to robust and effective protection are often similar, and we suggest that better conservation outcomes will result through greater sharing of area protection expertise between the poles.

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