Arctic policy recommendations

The strong knowledge base produced by the Arctic Council’s Working Groups and other subsidiary bodies feeds into recommendations for informed decision-making.

Based on the compiled knowledge – including scientific findings as well as traditional knowledge – of their reports and assessments, the Working Groups often develop scientific summaries. These in turn serve as the starting point for a set of policy recommendations and best practices, which are outlined in a brief summary for policy makers or as part of the full report.

Consensus advice

While the Working Groups’ assessments and reports follow the process of peer-reviewed scientific publications, the policy recommendations are reviewed and agreed to in consensus by the national representatives of the Arctic states with full consultation and involvement of the Permanent Participants.

Reaching beyond the Arctic

The policy recommendations are primarily aimed at the eight Arctic States and six Permanent Participant organizations. However, many issues across the Arctic from biodiversity, to pollution and climate change, require more far reaching actions and thus depend upon the involvement of non-Arctic states, regional and local authorities, industry and all who live, work and travel in the Arctic. The Council’s recommendations may, therefore, also provide a guide for action for states, authorities, and organizations beyond the Arctic Council.

Global impact

Besides national implementation actions across the Arctic States, recommendations by the Arctic Council have contributed to and influenced international frameworks and conventions.

  • The 2002 assessment on persistent organic pollutants by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) for example contributed to the negotiations that eventually led to the Stockholm Convention.
  • The Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, which was published in 2009 by the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME) in turn played a key role in moving towards mandatory rules and regulations for ships operating in polar waters. The result is the Polar Code by the International Maritime Organization.
  • The process to develop the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment led to recognition of Arctic biodiversity by the Convention on Biological Diversity as a new and emerging issue; and an invitation to the Arctic Council to provide relevant information and assessments of Arctic biodiversity resulted in a decision on cooperation with the Arctic Council.

Policy recommendations in the news

Mercury from outside the Arctic is polluting the region

AMAP Working Group lays a scientific foundation while ACAP WG implements projects to stimulate actions to reduce emissions. This is how they work together to inspire chan...
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Are we prepared for a radiation incident in the Arctic?

A look into the Radiation Expert Group and its collaborative approach to radiation risks and incidents
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As Arctic marine tourism increases, how can we ensure it’s sustainable?

A look into Arctic tourism trends and local guideline development
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