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Senior Arctic Officials' meeting in Whitehorse, 2-5 March 2015

28 February 2015
At the meeting of Senior Arctic Officials in Whitehorse, delegations will take a comprehensive look at the work of the Arctic Council in the lead up to the Iqaluit 2015 Ministerial meeting...

The Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs) will meet in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, 2-5 March, 2015.

The upcoming SAO meeting is the last meeting prior to the Iqaluit Ministerial, which will be held on 24-25 April, 2015. Delegations in Whitehorse will review progress on the work of the Arctic Council under the Canadian Chairmanship and assess the deliverables to be presented at the Ministerial meeting.

The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum for cooperation on Arctic issues, bringing together the eight Arctic states and the six permanent participant organizations representing indigenous peoples of the Arctic region.

“I am looking forward to highlighting Canada’s ongoing work and continuing our collective work on the Council’s important initiatives during Canada’s chairmanship”, said Vincent Rigby, Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials.

Issues to be discussed at the upcoming meeting include:

  • A case study from the Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP) of an initiative in the Russian Arctic to reduce black carbon emissions from diesel sources;
  • Two policy-makers’ summaries presenting the findings of new assessments by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) of short-lived climate pollutants (methane, black carbon and ozone) and human health, persistent organic pollutant trends, and radioactivity in the Arctic;
  • The Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG)’s efforts to: develop recommendations to strengthen the use of traditional and local knowledge in the work of the Council; create an online climate change adaptation portal; submit a report on “Circumpolar Reflections on Sea Ice Use and Shipping in Inuit Nunaat”; maintain and further develop sustainable reindeer husbandry in the Arctic; and assess cancer trends among Arctic indigenous peoples and communities;
  • The Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) group’s work to: update the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan, which will provide policy priorities for marine-related issues of the Arctic Council for the next ten years; develop a pan-Arctic framework for marine protected areas; and develop best practices guidelines for Arctic marine tourism;
  • The Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) working group’s Guide on Oil Spill Response in Ice and Snow. EPPR will also report on the radiation exercise “Arctic-2014”, which took place in the Murmansk region in June of 2014;
  • The efforts of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) group to develop an action plan to implement the recommendations from the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, a work plan for the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative, and present progress on the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program;
  • A compilation highlighting best practices for the promotion of traditional ways of life in the Arctic; and
  • Updates from the Council’s task forces on priority initiatives to address black carbon and methane, develop an action plan on Arctic marine oil pollution prevention, and enhance scientific cooperation.

On March 3 at 4:30pm, a public outreach event focusing on the Council’s work related to adaptation to climate change and short-lived climate pollutants will be held at Yukon College. Both of these issues, which are priorities during the Canadian Chairmanship, are important for people and communities living in a changing Arctic.