On 14-15 May 2012, the Conservation of Arctic Fauna and Flora (CAFF) working group organized a workshop to discuss ideas to inform the policy process resulting from the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA). The meeting took place at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, Sweden.

During the International Biodiversity Year (2010), CAFF seized the opportunity to release a first ABA publication entitled Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010 – Selected indicators of change. A full scientific assessment, including Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), is scheduled for release in Spring 2013. The assessment will be accompanied by a suite of policy recommendations.

Thirty delegates from seven Arctic states,Gwich'in Council International (GCI), Saami Council, Aleut International Association (AIA), Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG), Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), Arctic Contaminants Action Programme (ACAP) and other institutions met to translate science into policy.

The ABA will provide solid scientific foundations and policy recommendations. Preliminary findings show that both people and nature are being pushed northwards by climate change to where the land ends. This highlights the need for strategic, bold, and forward-looking recommendations.

From the Indigenous Peoples’ perspective, the loss of Arctic biodiversity threatens the local governance systems. In the process of drafting the policy recommendations, Traditional Ecological Knowledge plays an important role.

“The policy workshop has brought up many interesting thoughts and proposals as input to policy the ABA. Now the CAFF board will take these findings further in order to develop full-fledged recommendations.” says Mark Marissink of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, chair of the ABA.

Read more about the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment.

Photo caption: Bruno Pilozzi, SDWG, and Tony Gaston, Environment Canada, participated in the workshop. Photo by Courtney Price, CAFF