There are several documents which provide the framework for CAFF operations:
CAFFs work has subsequently been informed by the strategies and the recommendations generated through these documents, and they will be used to consider the manner in which CAFF has fulfilled its mandate.
Program for the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Framework Document, approved by Ministers in 1991, was a response to the lack of circumpolar information about Arctic biodiversity, and coincides with the environmental awakening occurring in global politics during the late 80s and early 90s with the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, the World Charter for Nature and the growing rise in awareness of sustainable development in the context of global politics. CAFF's Framework document, the
The primary funcitons assigned to CAFF were:
In 1992, at the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed by more than 150 countries, and came into force on December 29, 1993. All Arctic countries have signed the Convention, and all have ratified it except the U.S.A. The convention has three objectives:
In recognition of the fact that the objectives of CAFF and the CBD are complementary to each other and that most of CAFF's projects directly address conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, the Arctic Council tasked CAFF to develop an Arctic strategy relating to the goals of the CBD. The outcome of this work is the Cooperative Strategy for the Conservation of Biological Diversity in the Arctic Region. In addition to providing strategic direction relating to the goals of the CBD, it is part of the overall conservation framework for CAFF.
The goals of the strategy are to:
The actions identified to reach these goals include:
The Cooperative Strategy for the Conservation of Biological Diversity in the Arctic Region, called for enhanced monitoring and marked a significant starting point for CAFF's monitoring work.
Cooperative Strategy for the Conservation of Biological Diversity in the Arctic Region and noted the intention of CAFF to give it effect through the development of a Strategic Plan for the Conservation of Arctic Biological Diversity, a long-term plan based on the five priority objectives extracted from the Cooperative Strategy:At the Minsterial meeting in Alta, Norway (1997), the Ministers welcomed the
Although the Strategic Plan for the Conservation of Arctic Biological Diversity was intended to provide overall direction to CAFF only until 2001, it continues to inform CAFF's work through established principles and identified actions to fulfill the five priority objectives.
The Arctic Flora and Fauna Recommendations for Conservation (2002) contains a series of thematic goals and recommendations arising from CAFF's Arctic Flora and Fauna: Status and Conservation (2001) report, a science-based overview of Arctic biodiversity and key conservation issues.
It stated that “the overall goal of Arctic nature conservation is to ensure that Arctic ecosystems and their biodiversity remain viable and vigorous for generations to come and, therefore able to sustain human socio-economic and cultural needs.”
This document builds on existing recommendations to provide recommendations for action under six main categories:
the International Arctic Science Committee released the Impacts of a Warming Arctic synthesis report and later in 2005, the full In 2004, the Arctic Council and the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report. The ACIA has proved an important and influential assessment and provided direction for a wide variety of Arctic Council activities.
The ACIA report highlighted the lack of knowledge about the Arctic's ecosystems. It called for a range of recommendations to increase understanding of the Arctic environment and have provided important guidance for CAFF activities. In its acceptance of ACIA’s recommendations, the Arctic Council directed CAFF to further examine the findings related to biodiversity conservation and to develop follow-up programmes and activities that would address key projections for the future of the Arctic.
CAFF's primary response has been the development and the implementation of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) and the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA). It is anticipated that these activities will further guide future CAFF work.
The recommendations are aimed primarily at the Arctic Council, its member states and Permanent Participants. Success in conserving Arctic biodiversity, however, also depends upon actions by non-Arctic states, regional and local authorities, industry and all who live, work and travel in the Arctic. These recommendations may, therefore, also provide a guide for action for states, authorities, and organizations beyond the Arctic Council. Some of the ABA recommendations directly encourage cooperation with those outside the Arctic Council process.
Large tracts of the Arctic remain relatively undisturbed providing an opportunity for proactive action that can minimize or even prevent future problems that would be costly, or impossible, to reverse. The key findings of the ABA are interrelated and responding to them would benefit from a holistic approach. When taken together, three cross-cutting themes are evident:
A comprehensive and integrated approach is needed to address the interconnected and complex challenges facing biodiversity and to ensure informed policy decisions in a changing Arctic. In addition to many Arctic Council initiatives underway, there are other conventions and processes addressing these cross-cutting themes and many of the individual stressors acting on biodiversity. This includes many regulatory and non-regulatory measures that are in place or under development to provide consistent standards and/or approaches to development in the Arctic. Many of these can, or do, provide safeguards for biodiversity
Care was taken in the development of the ABA recommendations to review recommendations from other major Arctic Council initiatives. Many of the recommendations overlap and are mutually supportive, emphasizing the importance of considering all recommendations together. Some of the ABA recommendations reinforce the significance to biodiversity of recommendations or actions already underway, others build upon existing recommendations or processes, and others are more specifically focused on biodiversity issues. All are important to ensure the conservation of Arctic species, ecosystems and the services they provide.
Read the recommendations here.