Improving the work of the Arctic Council: challenges and recommendations

Polar Record, Vol 57, published online 18.03.2021. DOI: 10.1017/S0032247420000492

The Arctic Contaminants Action Programme (ACAP), originally intended to follow up the work of AMAP (the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme) on identifying the sources of pollution, became an official working group under the Arctic Council in 2006. ACAP has focussed on pollution from Russian sources, the main objective being to accelerate the reduction of national emissions of various environmental pollutants and climate forcers. Basically, ACAP initiates projects with a scientific basis in AMAP assessments of the health of the Arctic. The idea behind the creation of ACAP was to channel the work of the Arctic Council in a more practical direction and to improve the use of the knowledge produced by AMAP. ACAP is one of only two Council working groups not to have been specifically evaluated and analysed by external bodies and academics. This article undertakes a critical analysis of ACAP and argues that there are great potentials for improving its work. ACAP has established a forum where it has been possible to facilitate pilot projects aimed at limiting harmful emissions; this work should be strengthened.