Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program Strategic Plan, 2013-2017: Phase II Implmentation of the CBMP. CAFF Monitoring Series Report Nr. 8.
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As the Arctic continues to experience a period of intense and accelerating change, with climate change at the forefront, it has become increasingly important to effectively and sustainably manage Arctic ecosystems. The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF – www.caff.is), Arctic Council working group, operates at the interface between science and policy and as such is positioned to develop common responses on issues of importance. In order to deliver informed policy advice to decision-makers, it is important that accurate, credible and timely information on current and predicted changes in the Arctic’s ecosystems are made available. To efficiently address this information CAFF created the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP – www.cbmp.is) which operates as an international network of scientists and local resource users working together to enhance Arctic biodiversity monitoring to improve detection, understanding, prediction and reporting of important changes facing Arctic biodiversity. The development of the CBMP can be seen as a response to a number of Arctic Council recommendations that have called for improved and better coordinated, long-term Arctic biodiversity monitoring. The development and implementation of the CBMP has been further highlighted as an Arctic Council priority in the Kiruna (2013), Tromso (2009), Salekhard (2006), Reykjavik (2004), Inari (2002), Barrow (2000) and Iqaluit (1998) Declarations. At the Arctic Environmental Ministers meeting in 2013 in Jukkasjärvi, Sweeden, the Ministers encouraged the Arctic Council to take a leading, coordinating role in the follow–up of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment and encouraged Arctic States to implement its recommendations. They also stated that a targeted effort for the conservation and sustainable management of marine, terrestrial and freshwater habitats will be needed. In this context, ministers stressed the importance of implementing agreed biodiversity objectives in the Arctic, in particular the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and in relation to this encouraged the development of joint work between the Arctic States, building on existing work (Chairs statement, 2013). This plan can be regarded as a direct follow up on these recommendations. Also in a global perspective the continued implementation of CBMP comes at a critical time. Among others the recent Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) resulted in a strong recognition of the importance of Arctic biodiversity and of the Arctic Council work. Enhanced coordination of Arctic biodiversity monitoring via the CBMP is yielding an improved ability to detect important trends, link these trends to their underlying causes, predict future trends and scenarios for Arctic biodiversity, and thereby provide more timely and credible information to support responsible decision making at multiple scales (local, regional, national and global). It is anticipated that this increased coordination will result in reduced costs, compared to the cost of multiple, uncoordinated approaches that stop at regional or national boundaries. While most Arctic biodiversity monitoring networks are, and will remain, national or sub-national in scope, there is immeasurable value in establishing circumpolar connections among monitoring networks. In addition, this coordination is resulting in more rapid uptake of new technologies and methodologies through this increased dialogue.The first five-year CBMP implementation plan (Gill, et. al. 2008) focused on developing the strategy for building and maintaining a comprehensive and cost-effective pan-Arctic biodiversity monitoring program. This next generation CBMP strategic plan will focus on continuing to implement those strategies while allowing for greater emphasis on interpretation, integration and communication of biodiversity information resulting from the CBMP Monitoring Plans. This plan outlines ongoing efforts to establish and maintain steering groups to implement the monitoring plans and manage and provide that information for ongoing and future assessments of Arctic biodiversity. In implementing the monitoring plans it is critically important to include Arctic peoples who spend vast amounts of time in these remote environments. Drawing on personal experience, information shared with others, knowledge handed down through generations, and their TEK, residents of the Arctic are often able to recognize subtle changes and offer insights into their causes. All Arctic states, as well as a number of non-Arctic states and organizations, conduct monitoring of various elements of Arctic biodiversity. These efforts have largely been uncoordinated and limited in their geographic, thematic and temporal scope, and are not evenly spread across the Arctic. In May 2013, Denmark/Greenland/Faroe Islands and the United States agreed to co-lead the CBMP after Canada‘s successful eight-year leadership. Co-leading such a high profile program comes with a few challenges, including considerable collaboration and communication between the co-leads to ensure tasks are well coordinated and not duplicated. The co- leads have jointly agreed with the CAFF Secretariat to coordinate program elements in a fashion that is both efficient and economically feasible with respect to meetings and outside organizations. Central to developing a pan-Arctic ecosystem-based understanding are the CBMP ecosystem-based Arctic biodiversity monitoring plans [Marine (Gill, et. al. 2011), Terrestrial (Christensen, et. al. 2013), Freshwater (Culp, et. al. 2012), and Coastal (planned)]. These umbrella monitoring plans use existing monitoring capacity and identify priority gaps in current capacity to facilitate improved and cost-effective monitoring, data management and reporting through enhanced integration and coordination. Although the CBMP consists of thematically developed monitoring plans, the objective of this 4-year work implementation plan is to ensure their harmonisation using a successfully-combined, pan-Arctic ecosystem-based approach that is incorporated into a single reporting framework. The successful and sustainable implementation of the CBMP is dependent upon access to sufficient financial, organisational and institutional support. In order to generate this support, significant efforts within the CBMP are employed to develop the necessary strategic partnerships. This strategic capacity building is nested within the broader development by CAFF of a framework involving the key international and regional organizations and institutions of relevance to Arctic biodiversity.
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