Arctic protection gaps identified in new WWF report | WWF
Arctic protection gaps identified in new WWF report

Posted on 26 January 2009

Inadequate institutions and legal regulations are leaving the Arctic open to harm from an increasing rush for resources, a conference on arctic policies has been told.
Inadequate institutions and legal regulations are leaving the Arctic open to harm from an increasing rush for resources, a conference on arctic policies has been told.

That conclusion is backed by a new WWF report, International Governance and Regulation of the Marine Arctic: Overview and Gap Analysis.

“We clearly need improved governance for many activities in the Arctic,” says Dr. Tatiana Saksina, Governance Officer with WWF International’s Arctic Programme. “Legal regulations on fishing, shipping, oil and gas, and pollution prevention are often lacking the power necessary to adequately protect the Arctic and contain substantial gaps. With increased competition for Arctic resources, these gaps can lead to conflict and environmental destruction.”

The analysis shows that in some cases, such as offshore oil and gas development, activities are only governed by voluntary guidelines on an international basis and nobody is even checking if the guidelines are followed. 
There are also no regulatory regimes covering the operation of offshore installations, and prospective maritime activities such as carbon sequestration also lack regulatory coverage.

“Some countries have suggested that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) will close all the governance gaps – this report shows that UNCLOS will be not be enough,” says Saksina.

“Changing international laws is a slow process. Arctic states need to start thinking now about what governance improvements are necessary in the Arctic before problems arise.”

WWF plans to follow this report with another later this year that will outline some options for filling the governance gaps.

For further information:

Dr. Tatiana Saksina, Arctic Governance Officer, WWF International Arctic Programme
 (+47) 93 02 94 50 (mobile)


Clive Tesar, Head of Communications, WWF International Arctic Programme
(+47) 92 62 30 30 (mobile)
ctesar@wwf.no


Cover of the new WWF International Arctic Programme Report, 'International Governance and Regulation of the Marine Arctic: Overview and Gap Analysis'
© WWF