OceanIceland03 November 2020The moderators of the Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials based Marine Mechanism, a new format to enhance marine cooperation, summarize key point and outcomes of the webinar seriesFor five consecutive weeks, marine issues topped the agenda of the Arctic Council. During a thematic webinar series, experts and knowledge holders from the Indigenous Permanent Participants, Working Groups and Observers briefed the Senior Arctic Officials on key marine issues and fostered a discussion on how the Council can enhance its role in coordinating a sustainable future for the Arctic Ocean. We asked the moderators of the webinars: What were some of the key points discussed and what were some of the ideas brought up during the virtual meetings? The Arctic Marine Strategic Plan: Time for revisions and domestic implementation Mary Frances Davidson, Deputy Director at the UNESCO GRÓ Fisheries Training Programme, moderated the first thematic webinar of the series, which focused on the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan (AMSP). The AMSP was developed under the leadership of the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME) and it addresses the speed, pervasiveness and diversity of Arctic change, acknowledging the challenges and opportunities for sustainable development and environmental protection. Mary Frances Davidson summarizes: The discussion started with a closer look at the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan – how was it set up and how have we advanced in achieving its goals. There was wide agreement that the AMSP is a good document but there is also strong consensus that – due to its 2015 to 2025 timeframe – it might be time to revise parts of the strategy. The reason for this is that some of the actions and ambitions contained within the AMSP have already been achieved. This is something we can be very proud of, but it also means that it could be time to add some new strategic aims. Additionally, science in the Arctic is moving very fast and there is space within the revision of the AMSP to incorporate issues related to for instance marine protected areas, ocean acidification, invasive species, and marine pollution. The discussions then moved towards the role of the Senior Arctic Officials in regard to the implementation of the AMSP. One concrete suggestion was that the SAOs could support the Working Groups in integrating the AMSP in their respective work plans and in tracking their progress. This could ensure that the AMSP serves as the guiding document for the Arctic Council’s marine work. In addition, SAOs may also have a role to play in communicating the science contained within the AMSP to policy makers and to coordinate the implementation priorities outlined in the AMSP domestically. These ideas are closely related to each other: If the AMSP is going to be revised, then the SAOs can play a role in driving this forward.