The Arctic Council and biodiversity - need for a stronger management framework?

Nordisk Miljörättslig Tidskrift, No 2, 2016, pp. 37-53.

Arctic biodiversity is of global concern, with both the Arctic and the broader international community having a mutual interest in cooperation to ensure its conservation and sustainable use. Biodiversity is one of the focal areas of cooperation under the Arctic Council, addressed mainly under its working group on the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). As the Arctic constitutes several ecosystems transcending borders, threats to these ecosystems must be dealt with by all the states sharing them, though cross-border responses. To what extent does the Arctic Council provide the institutional, policy and regulatory means necessary to meet this challenge? Scientific monitoring and assessments of Arctic biodiversity – the essential feature of Arctic biodiversity cooperation – have shown that action on the ground is needed to reduce Arctic biodiversity loss. However, cooperation mechanisms to translate scientific findings into joint and unified action by the Arctic states are not in place. Decision-making power and instruments are needed, whether in the form of hard or soft law.The recent development of instruments in other thematic areas addressed by the Arctic Council could serve as inspiration.



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