Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (CAFF 2013)

ABA

Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Regional
Country or countries covered Canada, Denmark, Russia, Iceland, Norway, United States, Finland, Sweden
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

Circumpolar assessment of Arctic biodiversity status and trends

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

The purpose of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) was to synthesize and assess the status and trends of biological diversity in the Arctic. It identifies the current status of and historical trends in population size and distribution of Arctic species and, where available, presents projections of future change. As data on this scale are only available for a few well-known species and ecosystems, it is not possible to provide a comprehensive accounting of status and trends of all Arctic biodiversity. It is possible, however, to discuss broad trends in habitat condition and extent, ecosystem function, and overall biodiversity.

The ABA provides a much-needed description of the state of biodiversity in the Arctic. It: - creates a baseline for use in global and regional assessments of Arctic biodiversity which will inform and guide future Arctic Council work; - provides up-to-date knowledge gathered from scientific publications supplemented with insights from traditional knowledge holders; - identifies gaps in the data record; - describes key mechanisms driving change; and - presents science-based suggestions for action on addressing major pressures on Arctic biodiversity.

The ABA consists of four components: (1) Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010 – Selected Indicators of Change, which provided a preliminary snapshot of status and trends of Arctic biodiversity; (2) Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: status and trends in Arctic biodiversity, a comprehensive, peer-reviewed scientific assessment of Arctic biodiversity, and synthesis document (3) a Traditional Ecological Knowledge Compendium and (4) a Summary for Policy Makers aimed at making the science accessible for decision-makers and identifying actions to address key findings.

Mandate for the assessment

The purpose of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) was to synthesize and assess the status and trends of biological diversity in the Arctic. It identifies the current status of and historical trends in population size and distribution of Arctic species and, where available, presents projections of future change. As data on this scale are only available for a few well-known species and ecosystems, it is not possible to provide a comprehensive accounting of status and trends of all Arctic biodiversity. It is possible, however, to discuss broad trends in habitat condition and extent, ecosystem function, and overall biodiversity.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Other (please specify)

A robust scientific assessment steering, informed by Traditional Knowledge and subject to comprehensive national and peer review

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

www.arcticbiodiversity.is

System(s) assessed

  • Marine
  • Coastal
  • Island
  • Inland water
  • Forest and woodland
  • Grassland
  • Mountain
  • Polar

Species groups assessed

Mammals, Birds, Amphibians and reptiles, Marine fish, Freshwater fish, Parasites, Plants, Fungi and lichens, Microorganisms, Invertebrates

Ecosystem services/functions assessed

Provisioning

Regulating

Supporting Services/Functions

Cultural Services

  • Recreation and tourism

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services

Yes

Impacts of change in services on human well-being

Yes

Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed

Yes

Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment

Yes

Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started

2007

Year assessment finished

2013

If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish

Periodicity of assessment

One off

Assessment outputs

Report(s)

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Report for Policy Makers (Danish)
ABA_Policy_Summary_Danish.pdf

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Report for Policy Makers (English)
ABAPolicySummary_English.pdf

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Report for Policy Makers (French)
ABAPolicySummary_French.pdf

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Report for Policy Makers (Greenlandic)
ABA_Policy_Summary_GL.pdf

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Report for Policy Makers (Inuktitut)
ABAPolicy_Summary_Inuktitut.pdf

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Report for Policy Makers (Russian)
ABAPolicySummary_Russian.pdf

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: status and trends in Arctic biodiversity (full scientific report)
ABA_2013_Science.pdf

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Synthesis
ABA_2013_Synthesis.pdf

Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

Press materials: http://arcticbiodiversity.is/press

Status and Trends in Arctic Biodiversity (20 minute documentary): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydGhSUKSGiI

Status and Trends in Arctic Biodiversity (2 minute trailer): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3_p1HlZw7U

Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Modelling
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Indicators
  • Scenarios
  • Economic valuation
  • Social (non-monetary) valuation

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

CAFF is the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council and consists of National Representatives assigned by each of the eight Arctic Council Member States, representatives of Indigenous Peoples' organizations that are Permanent Participants to the Council, and Arctic Council observer countries and organizations. The CAFF Working Group operates by the Arctic Council Rules of Procedures. All Arctic states, PPs and a range of Arctic Council observers engaged in the ABA process via the CAFF working group

CAFF serves as a vehicle to cooperate on species and habitat management and utilization, to share information on management techniques and regulatory regimes, and to facilitate more knowledgeable decision-making. It provides a mechanism to develop common responses on issues of importance for the Arctic ecosystem such as development and economic pressures, conservation opportunities and political commitments.

Key stakeholder groups engaged

Policy-makers, government officials, indigenous peoples, students and industry and civil society representatives

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process

100-1000

Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only
  • Resource experts (e.g. foresters etc)
  • Traditional/local knowledge

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

http://arcticbiodiversity.is/the-report

Assessment reports peer reviewed

Yes

Data

Accessibility of data used in assessment

All the data from the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment is being made available on the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service: www.abds.is

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

The Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Report for Policy Makers developed nine key findings and 17 policy recommendations.

The Arctic Council approved the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment at the May 2013 Kiruna Ministerial meeting.

In the Arctic Council Kiruna Declaration, signed by Foreign Ministers of Arctic nations and Heads of Delegation of Permanent Participant organizations on May 2013 "Note with concern that Arctic biodiversity is being degraded and that climate change is the most serious threat, welcome the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, the first Arctic-wide comprehensive assessment of status and emerging trends in Arctic biodiversity, approve its recommendations and encourage Arctic States to follow up on its recommendations, and instruct Senior Arctic Officials to ensure that a plan for further work under the Arctic Council to support and implement its recommendations is developed, and that a progress report is delivered to the next ministerial meeting."

Since May 2013 an implementation Plan has been developed and various activities are being followed up on to fulfil the knowledge gaps and policy recommendations made in the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment.

Policy recommendations & key findings: http://arcticbiodiversity.is/the-report/report-for-policy-makers

Synthesis of scientific assessment: http://arcticbiodiversity.is/the-report/synthesis

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment

No

Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

A "lessons learned" document is in preparation.

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

Network and sharing experiences, Access to funding, Sharing of data/repatriation of data, Workshops, Developing/promoting and providing access to support tools, Communication and awareness raising

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

Key finding number 8 of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment Report for Policy: "Current knowledge of many Arctic species, ecosystems and their stressors is fragmentary, making detection and assessment of trends an their implications difficult for many aspects of Arctic biodiversity.

In addition, each scientific chapter has a section that identifies "possible conservation actions".

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Additional relevant information