The Arctic Council Regional Programme of Action for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (RPA).
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In the Iqaluit Declaration, dated September 18, 1998, Arctic Council Ministers adopted the Regional Programme of Action for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (RPA). The RPA is a dynamic programme of action that uses a step-wise approach for its development and implementation. It is the regional extension of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA). The GPA is designed to be a source of conceptual and practical guidance to be drawn upon by regional and national authorities in devising and implementing sustained action to prevent, reduce, control and eliminate marine degradation from land-based activities. This is to be done within the framework of integrated management of coastal zones and, where appropriate, their associated watersheds.1 Since the Iqaluit Declaration, there have been many developments that affect the RPA, several of which have arisen from Arctic Council activities. For example, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) has led to an awareness of the vulnerability of the northern environment to the effects of climate change. The Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) stressed the importance of maintaining environmental quality as an element of a more stable and sustainable Arctic economy. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) Working Group conducted further Arctic environmental assessments in 1998 and 2002 related to heavy metals, radioactivity, hydrocarbons, human health and changing pathways in light of climate change. The Russian National Programme of Action (Russian NPA – Arctic) has also made progress in its work since its approval in 2001. Finally, the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan developed by the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Working Group was endorsed by the Arctic Council Ministers in 2004. This strategic plan provides a framework for the protection of the Arctic marine environment, in which the RPA is an essential component.
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