WWF - Good Arctic Council plans need nations to step up | WWF

WWF - Good Arctic Council plans need nations to step up

Posted on
24 April 2015
WWF is encouraged by the Arctic Council’s plans for the next two years as laid out in today’s Ministerial statement, and its continued commitment to Arctic cooperation, but notes that some actions promised two years ago have disappointed. The “Action Plan for Oil Pollution Prevention” mandated at the ministerial meeting two years ago has only delivered an intention for a plan, rather than a meaningful action plan for preventing spills or blowouts in Arctic waters.

WWF also continues to point out that many of the Council’s excellent recommendations remain to be put in place, as they need robust implementation from both Arctic states and observers. Some elements of the Council agree with this approach – for instance the Arctic Council working group, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna has made the need for national implementation plans a feature of its Arctic Biodiversity Assessment. Without such plans, there is no accountability of Arctic states to Council recommendations.

Despite misgivings about implementation, WWF is optimistic about the course charted by the latest Ministerial. “There is much to like about the agenda of the US chair,” says Alexander Shestakov, Director of WWF’s Global Arctic Programme. “Discussion of a regional seas agreement for the Arctic Ocean is real opportunity to make sure development of the emerging open ocean is carefully managed and further work toward developing a network of marine protected areas will help maintain resilience in the Ocean. WWF also likes the focus on climate change, especially the work that will strengthen northern communities through a focus on local renewable energy.”

Shestakov emphasises that it is not just the Arctic Nations and Permanent Participants that have to step up to realize the promise of the Council’s work. “So much of what happens in the arctic is affected by events outside the Arctic. The Council has welcomed many new observer states. It is time those states showed their commitment to maintaining the Arctic environment by supporting pro-environmental and sustainability clauses in such instruments as the Polar Code of the International Maritime Organization, and through the coming climate negotiations in Paris.”

For more information:

Clive Tesar, Head of Communications and external Relations WWF Global Arctic Programme
Mobile: +1 613 883 3110 email: ctesar@wwfcanada.org
Web: panda.org/arctic

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