At the CBD-COP10 meeting in Nagoya, Japan, the Arctic Council’s Working Group on Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) held a side event presenting its report: “Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010: Selected Indicators of Change”. The report is the first output of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA), of which results will be launched in 2013.

Karen Ellemann, Minister of Environment, Denmark (photo), opened the event stating that the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment is expected to provide a more thorough understanding of Arctic change, which in turn will provide a foundation and impetus for political decisions, including on adaptation strategies.

Participants watched a short film outlining the report's seven key findings:

1) Unique Arctic habitats for flora and fauna are rapidly disappearing;

2) some species that are important both globally and to Arctic people are decreasing;

3) climate change is emerging as the dominant stressor on Arctic biodiversity;

4) although the extent of Arctic protected areas has increased, protected marine areas remain under-represented;

5) changes in Arctic biodiversity provide challenges and opportunities for Arctic people;

6) long-term observations are required to identify changes in biodiversity; and

7) changes in Arctic biodiversity have global repurcussions.

Several presentations were made, and a panel discussion included links between the Arctic Council's work and the Convention on  Biological Diversity, as well as work under other multilateral environmental agreements; capacity-building needs to ensure full participation of indigenous populations, including training to communicate traditional knowledge; and steps the Arctic Council can take to address under- representation of protected marine. Participants offered numerous suggestions for future collaboration to further the Arctic Council's work and to raise the profile of Arctic biodiversity globally.

Participants included Gunn-Britt Retter from the Sami Council, Inge Thaulow from the Greenland Home rule, Tom Christensen from the Danish Environmental Research institute, Mark Marissink from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and Tom Barry from the CAFF Secretariat.

Further information on the report "Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010: Selected Indicators of Change" at www.arcticbiodiversity.is / www.caff.is.