Hans Meltofte, chief scientist of the ABA and Naalakkersuisoq Kim Nielsen at a reception celebrating the release of the ABA. Photo: Carsten Egevang/ARC-PIC.comJanuary Naalakkersuisoq for Environment and Nature, Kim Kielsen, held a reception on January 8, 2014 at the Greenland Representation in Copenhagen, Denmark to celebrate the publication of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA).

In May 2013, the Arctic Council released a provisional scientific report at the Ministerial conference in Kiruna Sweden that summarized the present status and trends of Arctic nature. This is the first time such an analysis has been made for the Arctic and is viewed as a milestone in Arctic cooperation. 

The principal conclusion of the ABA is that current, ongoing climate change constitutes the most serious threat to Arctic nature. Even though Arctic ecosystems and species are thought to be more resilient to climate variation than those ecosystems and species elsewhere in the world, anticipated Arctic climate change will probably exceed the capacity for some species to adapt. The report also concludes that some species, despite active management, suffer from great population reductions as a result of over-exploitation.

The report contains a number of recommendations to conserve biodiversity and provide knowledge to assist in policy and decision-making in the Arctic. One recommendation is to ensure that species will be capable of reaching healthy and robust population sizes, so that these species become able to withstand wide-ranging climate changes.

In connection with the publication, Naalakkersuisoq wanted to take the opportunity to thank collaborators and partners, including researchers and organizations, for their contributions to this comprehensive work.

“The ABA concludes that climate changes constitute the biggest threat against our nature. Unfortunately some species are still not exploited sustainably," Naalakkersuisoq Kim Kielsen said. "It is important to emphasize the human factor in terms of our actions in our natural surroundings. The climate changes and the adjustments we need to work with in that respect is one thing. Another thing is non-sustainable exploitation of a variety of species. The report shows that retrogression still occurs in certain species, despite an active administration aimed at sustainable exploitation. To me it is important to ensure that we live in harmony with and respect for our nature and the living resources there. It is also important that we do not stop here – the report emphasizes that it helps to make an active, determined effort. We have been very anxious to ensure a sustainable exploitation of our living resources – we are headed in the right direction, and we need to keep moving in that direction.”

The report is published by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council. The large-scale ABA was launched under Greenland’s chairmanship in 2006-2009 and has involved more than 250 individuals from 15 countries as expert participants and contributors. It has taken more than seven years and cost more the 20 million Danish Krone (3.6 million USD) to draw up the report.

For more information please visit the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment website.


Inge Thaulow

Ministry of Housing, Nature and the Environment

Government of Greenland

Greenland Representation in Copenhagen

Tel. +45 328 338 52

Email Inge Thaulow



Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)

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. CAFF’s mandate is to address the conservation of Arctic biodiversity, and to communicate its findings to the governments and residents of the Arctic, helping to promote practices which ensure the sustainability of the Arctic’s living resources. For more information: www.caff.is

Arctic Council

The Arctic Council is a high level intergovernmental forum to provide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.  Arctic Council Member States are Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States of America. In addition to the Member States, the Arctic Council has the category of Permanent Participants who include the Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC), Aleut International Association (AIA), Gwich'in Council International (GGI), Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) and the Saami Council (SC). For more information: www.arctic-council.org 

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