20 February 2013Last week three of the Arctic Council working groups held their last meetings before the Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna in May. The ACAP, CAFF, and PAME working groups made the final changes to the assessments and reports which will be presented to the Arctic Ministers. The working groups also completed reports over their activities 2011-2013 and their work plans for 2013-2015. ACAP working group met in St. Petersburg The Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP) working group met 11-13 February in the offices of the Consulate General of Finland in St. Petersburg to finalize the report for ministers on the activities of the working group over the past 2 years. Other work included completing the 2013-2015 work plan and approving a new project on reduction of black carbon emissions from diesel engines. Co-operation with Barents Euro-Arctic Council and potential collaboration with FAO on pesticides destruction were also discussed. CAFF Biennial in Yakutsk The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working group held their Board and Biennial meeting on February 11-14 in Yakutsk in Eastern Siberia (The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russian Federation). Around 50 delegates who took part in the Biennial, discussed draft Policy Recommendations of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment and other assessments. The meeting agenda also included other important aspects of CAFFs work, as developments in the work of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Plan, CAFFs participation in Arctic Council projects, cooperation with Arctic Council working groups, international cooperation, data management and the documents to be submitted before the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in May 2013. The President, the Vice-President and two of the ministers of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) welcomed the participants and attended the Biennial. The Yakutian hosts organized a rich cultural and excursion program, including the Mammoth Museum, Vargan Music Museum, the State Treasury of the Sakha Republic, the Diamond Factory, the Regional Dance Theater and UNESCOs world heritage Lena Pillars Nature Park. PAME meeting in Rovaniemi The Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) working group held their working group meeting 12-14 February in Rovaniemi, Finland. One of the main topics on the agenda included finalizing the Arctic Ocean Review (AOR) Report. Photo: Arctic Council. Photo caption: CAFF Biennial Meeting delegates had the opportunity to attend a performance at the Sakha Republic’s Dance Theater.