PollutantsArctic Contaminants Action Program10 June 2014On 21-22 May, the Arctic Council’s Task Force for Action on Black Carbon and Methane met for the fourth time. The task force, which is co-chaired by Canada and Sweden, has the mandate to “develop arrangements on actions to achieve enhanced black carbon and methane emission reductions in the Arctic, and report at the next Ministerial meeting in 2015”.On 21-22 May, the Arctic Council’s Task Force for Action on Black Carbon and Methane (task force) met for the fourth time. The task force, which is co-chaired by Canada and Sweden, has the mandate to “develop arrangements on actions to achieve enhanced black carbon and methane emission reductions in the Arctic, and report at the next Ministerial meeting in 2015”. It provides a forum in which the knowledge and experience of the Arctic states, Permanent Participants, and working groups can be collected and shared. The task force is seeking to advance actions that address near-term warming of the Arctic and improve the health of Arctic inhabitants affected by emissions of black carbon. The agenda for this meeting included discussions of the inter-sessional work conducted by the Arctic states, exploring such issues as the creation of peer-learning systems to ensure that knowledge and best practices are shared effectively and the development of a reporting template to capture actions taken to reduce emissions. The agenda also included discussions of a Co-Chairs’ Framework Document, which outlines actions at the regional, national and international level that could be included in the final arrangement. Delegates at the meeting also considered how the elements described in the task force’s mandate could most effectively reflect the unique advantages of taking measures within the context of the Arctic Council, while at the same time avoiding duplication of related work in progress elsewhere. Two Arctic Council working groups with expertise in short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) attended the meeting – the Arctic Contaminants Action Program and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. Several accredited observers to the Arctic Council also attended the meeting, and the importance of observers’ contribution to the task force’s work was highlighted. The work of the task force continues the Arctic Council’s long-standing focus on SLCPs. Under the Tromsø Declaration (April 2009), the Arctic Ministers established a Task Force on Short-Lived Climate Forcers (SLCF), which delivered its recommendations for mitigation in 2011. That task force received a mandate for further work under the Nuuk Declaration (May 2011), and delivered its recommendations at the Kiruna Ministerial Meeting in May 2013. The current task force was established at the Kiruna Ministerial Meeting, and its terms of reference can be found in the Senior Arctic Officials’ report to Ministers from that meeting. For a backgrounder on the Arctic Council, click here. Photo: Visit Helsinki.