Identification of Arctic marine areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance: Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) IIc
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"The Arctic Council’s 2009 Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA)1 identified a number of recommendations to guide future action by the Arctic Council, Arctic States and others on current and future Arctic marine activity. Recommendation II C under the theme Protecting Arctic People and the Environment recommended: “That the Arctic states should identify areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance in light of changing climate conditions and increasing multiple marine use and, where appropriate, should encourage implementation of measures to protect these areas from the impacts of Arctic marine shipping, in coordination with all stakeholders and consistent with international law.” As a follow-up to the AMSA, the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) working groups undertook to identify areas of heightened ecological significance, and the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) undertook to identify areas of heightened cultural significance. The work to identify areas of heightened ecological significance builds on work conducted during the preparation of the AMAP (2007) Arctic Oil and Gas Assessment. Although it was initially intended that the identification of areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance would be addressed in a similar fashion, this proved difficult. The information available on areas of heightened cultural significance was inconsistent across the Arctic and contained gaps in data quality and coverage which could not be addressed within the framework of this assessment. The areas of heightened cultural significance are therefore addressed within a separate section of the report (Part B) and are not integrated with the information on areas of heightened ecological significance (Part A). In addition, Part B should be seen as instructive in that it illustrates where additional data collection and integration efforts are required, and therefore helps inform future efforts on identification of areas of heightened cultural significance. The results of this work provide the scientific basis for consideration of protective measures by Arctic states in accordance with AMSA recommendation IIc, including the need for specially designated Arctic marine areas as follow-up to AMSA recommendation IId."
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