Arctic Marine Tourism Project (AMTP) Workshop Report. March 18th and 19th, 2014 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME)
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"In broad terms the AMTP is attempting to identify issues or gaps where the Arctic Council can add value by articulating best practices in relation to vessel-based Arctic tourism. In undertaking this project PAME seeks to produce a best practices document that: 1) avoids duplication by being aware of existing guidelines and best practices; 2) identifies existing best practices while also determining any practical problem areas or actual issues requiring some resolution; 3) takes into account regional variations, categories of tourist/vessel operations, various stakeholder perspectives, and practical usability of a best practices document; and 4) considers the intended audience(s) for development of best practices. The workshop advanced understanding on all these matters and generated a solid basis for further work on the AMTP. Owing to a range of factors, representatives from the Permanent Participant and some Arctic states were not able to attend. The list of approximately 40 participants is included in Appendix A. PAME seeks to broaden participation in the AMTP discussions through future working group meetings and workshops. Although local community representatives and Permanent Participant representatives did not participate in the workshop, a considerable amount of discussion occurred on issues and concerns relevant to communities and indigenous peoples. There was a clear consensus that indigenous representation was essential in future workshops and discussions so that their perspectives and views could be properly reflected in any best practices document going forward to Arctic Council Ministers. Several participants stressed that most of the regular Arctic marine tourism operators have decades of experience in the region and have developed best practices related to safe distances from hazards and wildlife, as well as in respect of operations in and near communities. Many operators have good relations and communications with communities and conduct responsible operations. Therefore, “best practices” should not necessarily equate with increased regulation of the industry operators. In some case best practices need to be adopted by government agencies and community bodies as well. Throughout the workshop, participants noted a number of important regional/geographical variations in the nature and extent of Arctic marine tourism, as well as important distinctions in relation to vessel size, classification and regional areas of operation that will require additional attention and clarification for purposes of the AMTP. Part D of this Report contains a proposed working framework to assist in the iterative process associated with developing an ‘Arctic Marine Tourism Best Practices’ document (or equivalent) for approval by Arctic Council Ministers in spring 2015. This working draft is a composite of various ideas put forward during and after the workshop and is intended for discussion purposes only. Part E identifies next steps and key dates for the AMTP." /.../
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