The Arctic Council Experts Group on Arctic Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) met to work towards a common understanding on Ecosystem Based Management in the Arctic.

The EBM Experts Group held its second meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden on April 16th to 18th. Following up on the mandate from the Nuuk Ministerial Declaration, the United States hosted the first meeting of the EBM Experts Group on October 2011 in Washington, DC.

The meeting, hosted by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, took place in the Riverton Hotel. It was co-chaired by Evan Bloom, Director of the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs at the U.S. State Department, Magnús Jóhannesson, Secretary General at the Icelandic Ministry for Environment, and Laura Píriz, Senior Analyst at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.

Delegates worked on the core concepts of two important documents concerning the next steps for the upcoming intersessional efforts of the Expert Group: 1) Definition and Principles for EBM in the Arctic; and, 2) Knowledge, Information and Tools for Arctic EBM. The main purpose of these papers is to provide guidelines for possible deliverables to the 2013 Ministerial meeting in Kiruna. Other important issues that emerged were the need for standardised data, conservation standard and the importance of integrating traditional knowledge in the EBM processes.

“The meeting made good progress on definition and principles for EBM, as asked for by the Arctic Council Ministers, and there were useful discussions on barriers and opportunities for implementing EBM in the Arctic Region. We also received very important inputs into the process from four of the Arctic Council working groups namely AMAP, CAFF, PAME and SDWG” says, Magnús Jóhannesson, Experts Group Co-Chair.

A presentation on the updates of the EBM related Arctic Resilience Report (ARR) was given by Professor Ulf Molau, University of Gothenburg. ARR is a science-based assessment about the Arctic region which is changing rapidly, in ways that could dramatically affect people’s lives and ecosystems. To learn more about the ARR watch a one-minute ‘Frostbyte’ about the project (YouTube).

In order to collect suggestions for integrating and linking EBM efforts across the Arctic Council, working groups were invited to make presentations of their work and priorities on EBM efforts and involvement. The meeting was characterized by dynamic and constructive dialogues among the different participants and provided the group with insights and valuable information for taking important steps towards a successful finalization of the mandate.

A report will soon be launched on this website for further reading on the discussions and main outcomes from the 2nd EBM Experts Group meeting. The next meeting of this group of experts is likely to be held during the autumn of 2012 in Norway.


Text: Marc-André Dubois and Laura Píriz

Photo: OliverN5 from flickr.com