|dc.description.abstract||"As conditions continue to change, and new opportunities and challenges emerge, the Arctic has become an area of intense international focus and discussion, especially with respect to the existing governance framework that is in place in the Arctic marine environment. At the forefront of these emerging issues is the Arctic Council - an intergovernmental forum that successfully promotes cooperation, coordination and interaction among Arctic States on circumpolar sustainable development and environmental protection issues, with involvement from Arctic Indigenous communities and Observers.
The Working Group for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) is one of six working groups of the Arctic Council, and is responsible for promoting the protection and sustainable use of the Arctic marine environment through a broad range of policy issues that relate to the state of the Arctic marine environment, including pollution prevention, marine biodiversity, and marine resource development.
In April 2009, Arctic Council Ministers approved a proposal by PAME to conduct an Arctic Ocean Review (AOR) as a follow-up to the 2004 Arctic Marine Strategic Plan, which states that the Council shall:
“Periodically review the status and adequacy of international/regional agreements and standards that have application in the Arctic marine environment ..." (Strategic Action 7.3.4)
This initiative is being co-led by Canada, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States. In essence, the AOR is a multi-phased project that will result in a review of global and regional measures that are in place for the conservation and sustainable use of the Arctic marine environment, and analyze options to address any gaps or weaknesses, as necessary. In Phase I (2009-2011), the AOR will focus on information gathering and outreach, which will be done in close coordination with other Working Groups of the Arctic Council and Permanent Participants. Phase I will result in a report to Arctic Council Ministers in 2011, outlining existing measures.
Although not the focus of this communication plan, Phase II (2011-2013) will focus on analyzing information gathered in Phase I and reporting to the Arctic Council. Phase II will place an emphasis on areas where the Arctic Council can effectively add value to the existing global and regional instruments and measures in place for the Arctic marine environment, and will serve as validation for future direction of the Arctic Council in relation to the Arctic marine environment.
It is important to note that the AOR will not initiate a new assessment, but will be based on existing work. The overall objective is to provide guidance to Arctic Council Ministers as a means to support effective governance for the Arctic marine environment through cooperative, coordinated and integrated approaches. The AOR is an important initiative that will provide a voice for the Arctic Council about how Member States are addressing opportunities and challenges facing the Arctic marine environment.
Because of the work of the Arctic Council, the pressures to the Arctic marine environment can be better understood and are higher on the international agenda than in recent years. It is therefore timely to undertake a review of the global and regional measures (voluntary and mandatory) that are relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of the Arctic marine environment, as well as activities of the Arctic Council, in order to clearly demonstrate Arctic Council Member States’ stewardship efforts to the global community." /.../||en_US