Through the ever-growing body of assessments produced by its six Working Groups, the Arctic Council serves as knowledge broker and global advocate for Arctic topics. The Working Groups’ assessments have been instrumental in bringing Arctic issues to a global arena through policy recommendations and international cooperation.

The first comprehensive account of Arctic change

The 2005 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) was a landmark assessment for the Arctic. Some 300 scientists, experts, and representatives for Indigenous peoples collaborated to develop a comprehensive, multidisciplinary account of climate change in the Arctic. The result is probably one of the most widely read documents focused specifically on the Arctic, and one of the world’s first in-depth regional accounts of climate change impacts. The report was produced by AMAP, CAFF and IASC.

Contributions to international frameworks

AMAP has assessed and monitored the effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) for more than two decades. POPs are chemicals of global concern. They can travel over long distances, are persistent in the environment, and are able to accumulate in ecosystems, leading to negative effects on human health and the environment. AMAP’s 2002 assessment report on POPs contributed to the negotiations that eventually led to the Stockholm Convention on POPs.

CAFF's assessments have contributed to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, The African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), and the The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) among others, and has led to decisions from these conventions focused on Arctic biodiversity and requests for reporting from the Arctic Council.

Towards the Polar Code

The Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, published in 2009 by the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME), presented recommendations on safe shipping in Arctic waters. These recommendations played a key role in moving towards mandatory rules and regulations for ships operating in polar waters. The result is the Polar Code by the International Maritime Organization.

Featured Projects

Photo: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP)
The CBMP is an international network of scientists, governments, Indigenous organizations and conservation groups working to harmonize and integrate efforts to monitor the Arctic's living resourc...
Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) of the Central Arctic Ocean
PAME has teamed up with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) to investigate the current state of the Central Arctic...
Underwater noise in the Arctic
PAME's State of Knowledge Review on Underwater Noise in the Arctic report provides a baseline understanding of underwater noise in Arctic regions, including ambient sound levels, underwater noise...
Boat in ice. Photo: iStock
Risk Assessment methods and metadata
A common approach to marine risk assessment in the Arctic region.
Arctic Children: Preschool and School Education
The nomadic school project is aimed at the analysis and evaluation of educational practices without interrupting the traditional way of life of Indigenous peoples – children of nomads, providing them ...
Photo: iStock / RyersonClark
One Health
A theoretical concept and practical approach for developing and sustaining broad interdisciplinary collaboration – to identify, prevent, and mitigate health risks in humans, animals and the environmen...
Ship in the Arctic. Photo: iStock / Alexey_Seafarer
Arctic Marine Tourism: Development in the Arctic and enabling real change
The Arctic Marine Tourism Project (AMTP) analyzes and promotes sustainable tourism across the circumpolar Arctic.
Permafrost erosion in Alaska. Photo: USGS / M. Torre Jorgenson
Climate Issues: Cryosphere, meteorology, ecosystem impacts
AMAP is further developing work on thresholds and extremes, Arctic/mid-latitude weather connections and performance of global models in the Arctic, with contributions from the meteorology community. T...
Garbage incinerator in Greenland. Photo: iStock / olli0815
Community-based black carbon and public health assessment
Assessing and mitigating the risks of black carbon to public health.

Arctic assessment news

Historic construction for coal transport, Longyearbyen, Svalbard

“The global demand is a very strong driver affecting the Arctic economy”

An interview with co-editor Iulie Aslaksen about the upcoming “Economy of the North 2020” report (ECONOR IV report)
16 Jun 2020
Arctic Council logo

Arctic Council COP25 side event on ocean acidification was a call for action

The Arctic is experiencing some of the fastest rates of ocean acidification, with potentially severe implications for ecosystems and communities dependent on them.
15 Dec 2019

Increased warming pushing Arctic freshwater ecosystems to the brink

The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group has released the first circumpolar assessment of freshwater biodiversity across the Arctic.
29 Sep 2019
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