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.

Featured projects

Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter

Reducing the negative impacts of marine litter, including microplastics, to the Arctic marine environment.

Actions for Arctic Biodiversity

Implementing the recommendations of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment.
iStock

Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) of the Central Arctic Ocean

Investigating the current state of the Central Arctic Ocean
iStock

Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum

Facilitating an exchange of information and best practices on shipping topics like hydrography, search and rescue logistics, industry guidelines and ship equipment, systems and structure.
iStock

Good Practices for impact assessments and engagement

Providing Arctic-specific recommendations for large-scale projects in the vulnerable and changing Arctic environment, while taking Indigenous peoples and other Arctic inhabitants into account.

Arctic Resilience Action Framework (ARAF)

Advancing a coordinated, regional approach to building resilience and adapting to rapid change.
Boat in ice. Photo: iStock

Arctic Marine Risk Assessment

A common approach to marine risk assessment in the Arctic region.

Mainstreaming Arctic Biodiversity

Identifying challenges and solutions for incorporating biodiversity considerations Arctic development and the Council's work
Ship in the Arctic. Photo: iStock / Alexey_Seafarer

Arctic Marine Tourism: Development in the Arctic and enabling real change

Analyzing and promoting sustainable tourism across the circumpolar Arctic.
Garbage incinerator in Greenland. Photo: iStock / olli0815

Community-based black carbon and public health assessment

Assessing and mitigating the risks of black carbon to public health.
Arctic Council logo

Interpretation of the Polar Code

Facilitating consistent interpretation of the Code.

Arctic Rescue

International Cooperation to Develop Arctic Emergency Preparedness
Arctic Council logo

Arctic Lessons Learned Arena

One-stop shop for Arctic incident reports to share experiences, contirbute to best practices and to mitigate future risks
Soot on ice. Photo:iStock

Arctic Black Carbon Case Studies Platform

Showing how existing technologies successfully, sustainably, and affordably reduce black carbon emissions.

Circumpolar Oil Spill Response Viability Analysis Phase II (COSRVA II)

Science-based decision-making in Arctic oil spill response contingency planning

News

All tourism vessel traffic in 2019, cruise and passenger ships.

As Arctic marine tourism increases, how can we ensure it’s sustainable?

A look into Arctic tourism trends and local guideline development
10 May 2021
iStock

Mercury from outside the Arctic is polluting the region

A look at current trends, concerns and future action
10 May 2021
Radiation emergency exercise at Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation Centre, Russia Credit: ERC Rosatom

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
10 May 2021
See all