CAFF, in partnership with the AMAP and SDWG working groups of the Arctic Council has released the AMSA IIC report on the Identification of Arctic marine areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance.The overall objective is to identify the ecologically and culturally significant marine areas that are vulnerable to marine vessel activities in the Arctic in light of changing climate conditions and increasing multiple marine uses.
Specific objectives include:
- Compile existing information and identify Arctic areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance
- Overlap these areas with existing information on Arctic marine vessel activity and prognosis for future development due to climate change and consider their vulnerability in relation to vessel activity
- Report the findings to the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council
The Working Groups are responding to recommendation II(C) from the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA), which deals with Marine Areas of Heightened Ecological and Cultural Significance. This project is led through CAFF by Canada and Greenland and through AMAP by Norway and the United States.
Scope of work
The project report, along with other sources of information, shall form the scientific basis for PAME to encourage co-operation and the development of common or shared proposals to the extent possible among Arctic states for submission to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the protection of areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance in the Arctic from the impacts of Arctic marine vessel activity for the Arctic Council states to consider.
The report will consider the Revised Guidance document for submission of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas proposals to IMO (A 24/Res.982 6 February 2006) as a template for classification criteria. The project will not involve new research but will be a compilation and assessment of existing information. As IMO’s jurisdiction is limited to marine vessel activity only, the project will only concentrate on the effect from these activities.