The Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) working group of the Arctic Council is meeting in Stockholm, Sweden for their first meeting of 2012. The meeting is being held at the facilities of the Prime Minister’s Office, Rosenbad 26-27 March.
More than 60 participants representing all the Arctic States, most of the Permanent Participants, working groups and observers are gathering to discuss the continued and new priorities of the Arctic Council, as described in the last Ministerial Nuuk Declaration. Secretary General of the Icelandic Ministry for the Environment Magnús Jóhannesson, Chair of the PAME working group, is chairing the meeting.
On Monday, most of the discussions were dedicated to the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) follow-up activities which include, among many issues, the IMO (International Maritime Organization) developments on a mandatory Polar Code. Furthermore, discussions about the follow up on the 2009 Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Guidelines (OOGG) and the Arctic Ocean Review (AOR) Project were on the meeting agenda.
A presentation on the Automated Identification System (AIS), Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) by a representative from the European Maritime Safety Agency was on the programme. Another presentation by the shipping insurance industry on factors that go into setting insurance premiums for Arctic cruises by David Bolomini from the International Group of Protection and Insurance Clubs was warmly welcomed.
Late Monday afternoon, the discussions continued with respect to the work of the Ecosystem Approach Expert Group. The Expert Group held a PAME Ecosystem Approach Workshop last week where more than 25 participants shared and pooled their efforts and knowledge. The meeting adjourned after a debate on the status of the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan, an Arctic Council strategy to be presented at the Ministerial Meeting in May 2015.
Information about the PAME work plan for 2011-2013
The PAME meeting will be directly followed by the SAO meeting also to be held in Stockholm on March 28-29. The next PAME meeting is planned for September or October of 2012.
Text and photo: Marc-André Dubois