Plenary panel 2: The Arctic in a global context: biodiversity targets, Sustainable Development Goals and a post-2020 agenda

Date: Wenesday, October 10

Location: Tieva, Lappia Hall (overflow in Kero, Valtuustosali)

Time: 13:30-14:30 

Arctic biodiversity is a unique global asset, and it faces numerous globally- interconnected threats, requiring comprehensive solutions and international cooperation. In a world where habitat degradation and species loss are increasingly prevalent, the scarcity and value of intact ecosystems and healthy species is increasing. The Arctic is one of the largest relatively undisturbed physical and ecological systems remaining on Earth and has been home to vibrant Indigenous cultures for millennia. This provides a rare opportunity to maintain the socio-ecological integrity of an entire biome. There is a need to make Arctic biodiversity conservation a priority and sustainable development in the Arctic a reality, while respecting and supporting Arctic residents. Yet, as the world is increasingly drawn to and inspired by the beauty and potential of the Arctic, as we increasingly commercially harvest its fish to feed ever-growing populations, exploit its minerals and petroleum, route our ships through its waters and especially as our actions alter its climate, Arctic biodiversity faces ever-increasing threats and emerging concerns. As we recognize the unique values of the Arctic and its critical importance to the Earth’s oceanographic, atmospheric and biological systems, we must also take on the global responsibility to sustain the Arctic and its biodiversity for ourselves and our descendants.

While our challenges are interconnected, so too are our solutions. This panel will explore how the Arctic addresses the UN Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Sustainable Development Goals and how the global community can work together across borders, disciplines and barriers to offer the greatest potential to address the suite of challenges facing humanity and the environment, and will examine how the Arctic can shape the future of a post-2020 global agenda for environmental conservation and sustainable development.

Moderator: Martin Breum


  • Melanie Virtue, Head of CMS Aquatic Species Team, Convention on Migratory Species
  • Alexander Shestakov, Head of Division, Scientific and Policy Support, Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
  • Dalee Sambo Dorough, Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Council
  • Hannele Pokka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment, Finland