The future of Governance and handling Vulnerability in Arctic Ecosystems


  • 09:00 Arctic marine ecosystems and the Ecosystem Approach to their management
    Authors: Hein Rune Skjoldal ( Institute of Marine Research )

    The Arctic marine area, as identified for work under the Arctic Council (AC), spans a range of environmental conditions in different bioclimatic zones, from the Bering Sea in the North Pacific, across the Central Arctic Ocean and the North Pole region, down in the North Atlantic to include the Norwegian and Labrador seas. This wide area can be broadly divided into a southern portion of mostly open waters that support major global fisheries, and a northern portion of mostly ice-covered waters. Based on ecological criteria, the Arctic marine area has been delineated into 18 Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs), identified for the purpose of implementing the Ecosystem Approach to management (EA). EA is defined as integrated management of human activities, based on scientific and other knowledge, to achieve the dual objectives of sustainable use and maintenance of ecosystem integrity. A framework with six elements for implementing the EA in the marine Arctic has been developed and agreed as a basis for work in the AC: i) identify the ecosystem, ii) describe the ecosystem, iii) set ecological objectives, iv) assess the ecosystem (through Integrated Ecosystem Assessment), v) value ecosystem goods and services, and vi) carry out adaptive management. The Arctic LMEs represent the first element in the EA framework of identifying ecosystems, while recognizing that LME boundaries are open borders, where what happens there (e.g. transport of water in ocean currents and animal migrations) are important system characteristics. Guidelines for EA implementation based on the 6-element framework are now being prepared under the AC. Scale integration across ecological and human dimensions is a key challenge for effective EA implementation, both scientifically and in terms of management. With on-going climate change, shifts in ecosystem properties (e.g. distributions of organisms and habitats) represent a shifting baseline for assessing additional impacts from expanding human activities.

  • 09:30 The Ecosystem Approach: A tool for resilient ecosystems in the Arctic Ocean
    Authors: Christine Myrseth ( University of Norway, The Arctic University of Norway, former MS student )

    The Ecosystem Approach: A tool for resilient ecosystems in the Arctic Ocean

    The objective of this article is to examine in what ways The Ecosystem Approach can be a tool for resilient ecosystems in the Arctic Ocean because of the urgent need to reconcile considerations on how to both mitigate and adapt to climate change without neglecting maintenance of biological diversity. There seems to be some harmonization lacking between the Paris Agreement- and the need for solutions of mitigation (new energy sources that often demands available areas) and how these solutions should be carried out to secure the commitments of states under The Convention on Biological Diversity, where resilient ecosystems is a main goal. 

    My argument is that The Ecosystem Approach, especially those principles developed from the Arctic Council, Principles of Arctic Ecosystem Based Management, can contribute to such a harmonization.  This is because the principles for management under this approach give guidelines on how to for one thing address the tolerance limits of the ecosystem by considering cumulative impacts in specific areas and most important, includes the residents of the Arctic- in this case, of relevance is the presence of indigenous and local knowledge. This is knowledge that are under threat in many ways but there is a need for securing this knowledge for management purposes.

    My conclusions are that this approach is most valuable for integrating political, scientific, legal and human resources and in the Arctic, it opens for new ways of thinking of how compliance can be achieved through regionalism, soft law and developing agreements. This is important because of the impact legal and political guidelines can have for the value resilient ecosystems represents for science (reference value- what is a healthy, functioning ecosystem) and the role that traditional and indigenous knowledge plays in articulating changes and solutions on how to maintain biological diversity in a time when technology, urbanisation and loss of areas for residents using nature in a small-scale or traditional way.

    When addressing The Ecosystem Approach and articulating anything in legal terms the methodological challenges you must confront is most visible. I have used a multiple method where I have used both a dogmatic approach and at the same time, tried to put these legal finds into a political context by using the soft law agreements available.

  • 09:45 Is the European Union becoming an essential actor of the Arctic ecosystems? - A case study of the Agreement on unregulated fishing in the Central Arctic Ocean
    Authors: Emilie Canova ( ENS Paris - Groupe d'étude géopolitiques (GEG) ); Camille Escudé ( Sciences Po Paris - Groupe d'études géopolitiques (GEG) )

    On December 7th 2017, the European Union (EU), five coastal States of the Arctic ocean, Japan, Iceland, Denmark and South Korea agreed to prevent unregulated fishing in the Arctic for at least 16 years. This international moratorium covers an area of about the size of the Mediterranean Sea. Even if no commercial fisheries exist in Arctic waters yet, Conservationists applauded the deal as a pionnier agreement for Arctic ecosystems management.

    The international moratorium on commercial fishing in the central Arctic Ocean is a recent example of the growing implication of the EU in the Arctic governance. Based on the case study of this agreement, we would like to analyse to what extend the EU is becoming a major actor of the Arctic governance, and how it challenges the current governance of the region. One year after the signature of the moratorium, what are the results of it? What conclusions can be drawn from the growing European implication in the Arctic?

    This work is the result of a collective study, produced by the Nordic programme of the think tank GEG (Groupe d’Etudes Géopolitiques) from ENS Paris, that gathers young researchers and professionals in the geopolitical field focusing on the European aspects of international relations. The study is based on a documentary analysis method and on interviews with diplomats from Arctic countries and the EU.

    In the presentation, we will try to assess if this case reveals the globalization of Arctic challenges, leading to an inevitable globalization of Arctic governance stakeholders. Interesting enough, Arctic States such as Sweden and Finland did not signed the Agreement in their own name but have been represented through the EU, that has now an ad hoc Observer status in the Arctic Council. It appears that the regional scale of Arctic governance is challenged by an international interest in the Arctic and that the EU is standing out as key player. What does it reveal about the management of Arctic ecosystems? Do Arctic regional actors, especially indigenous people, still have the same place in Arctic governance?

    In a context of tensions between the EU and Russia, this Agreement confirms that the Arctic is still a place of low tensions. In a second time, we will explore to what extend this Agreement represents a hope for international relations and ecosystem management, and if this kind of agreements are likely to expand and with whom.

  • 10:00 De-icing of Arctic Coasts: Critical or new opportunities for marine biodiversity and Ecosystem Services? ACCES
    Authors: Janne E. Søreide ( The University Centre in Svalbard ); Piotr Gracyk ( Norut Northern Research Institute ); Amanda Poste ( Norwegian Institute for Water Research ); Jan Marcin Weslawski ( Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences ); Jacek Urbanski ( University of Gdansk ); Christopher-John Mundy ( The University of Manitoba ); Simon Belanger ( Universite du Quebec a Rimouski ); Katrin Iken ( University of Alaska Fairbanks ); Ken Dunton ( University of Texas at Austin ); Mikael K. Sejr ( University of Aarhus )

    The Arctic is characterised by extensive coasts that constitute 34% of the total global coastline. Nearshore waters are among the most productive regions in the Arctic and the coastal zone has always been the preferred ecotype for humans in the area. De-icing and continued warming will allow colonization of the intertidal zone by Arctic and boreal flora and fauna. Disappearance of coastal sea ice may, however, also result in habitat loss. Increased coastal erosion and sediment loads will physically change the nearshore benthic habitats and, thus, the biodiversity of these regions with cascading effects in food webs. Consequently, the coastal ecosystem goods and services (provisional, regulatory, socio-cultural) will also encounter changes. Arctic coastal biodiversity is, therefore, under growing pressure as climate change and human activities increase, necessitating that government managers, industries, conservation organisations and communities have access to timely and complete biodiversity status and trend data. In this project, funded by the Belmont Forum-BiodivERsA program on biodiversity scenarios,  we have put together a strong multidisciplinary team from Norway, Poland, Canada, US and Denmark to determine biodiversity- and socio-ecological consequences of the change from seasonal ice-covered to ice-free Arctic coasts. We will study a wide geographical range of Arctic coastal sites with contrasting ice regimes: Arctic coastlines with extensive seasonal sea ice coverage (iced) and Arctic coasts with limited or no seasonal sea ice (scattered ice to open water). For these two scenarios we will consider both rocky and soft sediment communities. We will determine physical and chemical hydrographic properties, biodiversity of multiple primary producers from ice algae to phytoplankton and microphytobenthos to macroalgae, and pelagic and benthic diversity. The food webs connecting these ecosystem elements will be investigated. Knowledge generated in this project will be communicated and discussed with relevant stakeholders, and be incorporated into coastal management plans.

Science Science

Thursday 24th January 2019

09:00 - 10:30

Clarion Hotel The Edge - Importkompaniet

Add to Calendar 2019-01-24 09:00 2019-01-24 10:30 Europe/Oslo The future of Governance and handling Vulnerability in Arctic Ecosystems Clarion Hotel The Edge - Importkompaniet

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