Akureyri, Iceland- December 21, 2017

The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council, is seeking a coordinator to organize the work in the Americas Flyway under the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI).

The Americas (AMER) Flyway Committee Coordinator is a 50% role designed to be taken on by someone familiar with bird conservation in the region and who has experience in working with diverse stakeholder groups. The AMBI AMER Coordinator will be hosted via Manomet, with the candidate preferably being located in South America.

AMBI is a project designed to improve the status and secure the long-term sustainability of declining Arctic breeding migratory bird populations. Arctic-breeding birds use many different flyways to move from Arctic breeding grounds to overwintering or stopover sites at lower latitudes. Many bird populations are declining at an unprecedented rate for variety of reasons.

The AMER Flyway Committee consists of representatives from Canada, the U.S., Brazil, WHSRN, UNEP and the CAFF Secretariat. The AMBI Americas Flyway work plan covers priority conservation issues and actions relating to migratory Arctic-breeding birds from with a focus on habitat conservation. Supporting the protection of habitat in the Arctic for migratory bird species is a major focus of the work under the AMER. Other priorities include ensuring habitat protection along staging and wintering areas in the southern portions of the flyway. Examining the impacts from over abundant white geese is also a priority issue. 


  • Coordinate the AMER committee and multi-stakeholder planning team as necessary
  • Raise awareness of the importance of international cooperation and concerted action needed to conserve Arctic migratory birds
  • Work with AMBI Chair, Coordinator and CAFF Secretariat to coordinate activities within AMBI Americas
  • Liaison with partners in the region to help facilitate projects as directed by the flyway committee
  • Travel to relevant meetings to represent AMBI interests
  • Assist in organizing AMBI events in the region
  • Fund raise for both AMBI and the coordinator position


The following specifies the qualifications, experience and expertise required:

General Qualifications

  • Ability to communicate proficiently in English and Spanish. Proficiency in other languages spoken in the flyway are beneficial, but not mandatory.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with others in a cross cultural environment.
  • Familiarity with issues of Arctic migratory bird conservation in the flyway.
  • A working understanding of the Arctic Council and CAFF, including roles and objectives
  • Experience and ability to host meetings, manage documentation, develop information flow and management of a team.
  • Experience in writing scientific summaries and reports.
  • Location within the relevant Flyway preferred, but not mandatory.
  • Ability to travel to relevant meeting at international locations.

General Professional Experience

  • Previous experience working to advance global migratory species and/or conservation initiatives.
  • Advanced degree in relevant field including conservation, biology, communications, international relations, governance, etc.
  • Recent experience developing international conservation teams.
  • Recent experience managing a cross cultural team.

Assignment Specific Professional Experience

  • Familiarity with AMBI Work Plan and objectives.
  • In depth knowledge of policy framework in the flyway as it pertains to conservation, migratory species, development, human well-being and other fields of relevance to conservation. 

Timeframe of commitment 

February 2017 to February 2018, with the possibility of an extension contingent on funding. The AMBI AMER Coordinator will be expected to travel internationally to up to two meetings during this timeframe, including attending the Arctic Biodiversity Congress in October 9-11, 2018 in Finland.


The AMBI AMER Coordinator will be hosted by Manomet. The compensation for this position is 18,000 USD for one year 0.50 FTE.

To apply for this position

Apply with CV (max 4 pages) and a letter of interest outlining why/how your skills match the position.

Deadline for submission Monday January 15th by 24:00 GMT. All applications should be sent to Tom Barry, the Executive Secretary at the CAFF International Secretariat tom [AT] caff [DOT] is .

CAFF-IASC Science Policy Fellowship Call for Applications

In partnership with APECS

November 30, 2017, Akureyri, Iceland - As two international organizations based in Akureyri, Iceland, the Conservation of Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), are teaming up together and with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) to help early career scientists get more involved in the process of taking research from results through to science policy recommendations.

We are looking for two CAFF-IASC Fellows in this inaugural year. Fellows will identify a joint area of interest and expertise, participate in and contribute to CAFF’s work, and produce some culminating output. Application deadline: 15 Dec 2017 at 23:59 GMT

This year's areas of interest are:

The duration of the Fellowships will be from January through November 2018. Each Fellow will begin by attending the CAFF Board Meeting (6-8 Feb 2018; Fairbanks, Alaska), continue on with an appropriate working group meeting, and contribute to the program of the Arctic Biodiversity Congress. As appropriate, Fellows will continue working with their CAFF groups to deliver peer-reviewed publications and/or a report to the Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials.

Fellowship Commitment
During their appointment, both Fellows will be expected to attend the followning meetings:

Travel support to attend 3 – 4 meetings for each Fellow during their Fellowships will be made available through CAFF and IASC. The travel support is the only financial remuneration for the fellows. Salary is not included during the fellowship.

Fellowship Deliverables

  • Fellows will deliver meeting reports for partner newsletters.
  • As this is a pilot program, Fellows will deliver program feedback and evaluations.
  • As part of their Fellowship, Fellows will contribute to at least one peer reviewed publication and/or deliverable report to the Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials.

Application & Selection Criteria
Fellows should:

  • Be a doctoral student/candidate or postdoctoral researcher (up to 5 years past PhD),
  • Commit to participating in the activities and meetings listd above in the announcement text from January to November 2018,
  • Be excited about international teamwork, be open to cross-disciplinary work, and appreciate the need to engage between science and policy-related institutions, and
  • Have a good command of English.

To apply please fill out this online application form: https://goo.gl/forms/JevkrFsRpHv4EgQV2. Applications are due by 15 December 2017 and applicants will be contacted on 11 January 2018. A Word copy of the form is available through info [AT] apecs [DOT] is for those who have problems viewing or accessing the online form. In recognition of project funding from Sweden, candidates from Sweden are encouraged to apply. APECS will coordinate the application and review process; recommendations from APECS based on the review process will be delivered for final selection to the CAFF and IASC Secretariats.

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


Says new State of the Arctic Biodiversity Report, released at the Arctic Council Ministerial

PRESS RELEASE: May 11, 2017: Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.

Changing food availability, loss of ice habitat, increases in contagious diseases, and the impending invasion of southern species are taking their toll on Arctic marine animals, and pointing to an ecosystem on the verge of a shift, says new report released by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council.

The State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report identifies trends in key marine species and points to important gaps in biodiversity monitoring efforts across key ecosystem components in: sea ice biota, plankton, benthos, marine fishes, seabirds and marine mammals. Changes in these species are likely to indicate changes in the overall marine environment.

Over 60 international experts in CAFF’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) sifted through existing data on key elements of the Arctic marine species. Key findings and evidence include:

Food resources are being lost for many Arctic species in Arctic marine environments. Many species must travel further and expend more energy to feed, leading to concerns about individual health and potential effects at the population level.

  • Reduced ice cover has led to increased polar bear predation on ground-nesting common eiders and cliff-nesting murres.
  • Barents Sea harp seals have reduced body condition associated with reduced food availability as their travel time to the ice edge to feed is longer.
  • Some Indigenous communities have noted a change in walrus stomach contents, with more open water fishes and less clams, indicating that the distribution and availability of benthic resource species are changing in some areas.
  • Ivory gull declines coincide with reduction in their sea ice feeding areas.

Current trends indicate that species reliant on sea ice for reproduction, resting or foraging will experience range reductions as sea ice retreat occurs earlier and the open water season is prolonged. Although there are no documented cases of widespread population changes, some Arctic-breeding seabirds and some resident marine mammals have been observed shifting behaviours.

  • Belugas in Hudson Bay varied timing of migration in response to variations in temperatures. These migrations may affect the ability of people to find and use these resources.
  • Changes in sea ice conditions are probably linked to declines in the abundance of hooded seals, lower reproduction rates of Northwest Atlantic harp seals, reduced body condition of Barents Sea harp seals, and changes in prey composition of bearded seals.
  • Extirpation of some stocks of ice-dependent seals are possible, but is expected to vary locally because of large regional variation in ice cover decline.
  • Early spring sea ice retreat also reduces suitable breeding and pup rearing habitat for ringed seals. This affects the ability for polar bears, which feed on ringed seals, to rebuild energy stores after fasting during their own breeding period.
  • Walruses have rested on sea ice located over prime feeding areas, but due to late season ice formation, are increasingly using coastal haul-out sites instead. In addition to travelling further to access foods, this also increases the risk of calf mortality from stampede.

Some Arctic species are shifting their ranges northwards to seek more favourable conditions as the Arctic warms. These movements pose unknown consequences for Arctic species and their interactions, such as predation and competition.

  • The northward expansion of capelin has led to changes in seabird diet in northern Hudson Bay. It also may affect marine mammals.

Northward movement is easier for more mobile open-water species. Open water species are more mobile compared to those linked to shelf regions, such as benthic species, for which suitable habitat may be unavailable if they move northward.

Increasing numbers and an increasing diversity of southern species are moving into Arctic waters. In some cases, they may outcompete and prey on Arctic species, or offer a less nutritious food source for Arctic species.

  • Complex patterns of benthic biomass change in the Barents Sea are related to, amongst other pressures, warming of the Barents Sea improving conditions for boreal species to move further north.
  • The distribution of Atlantic cod is expanding in the Atlantic Arctic and increasing predation pressure on the polar cod, an important nutrient-rich prey fish, important for other fishes, seabirds and marine mammals, especially seals.
  • The more temperate killer whale is expanding in Arctic waters and may compete with other apex predators for nutritious seals.

Arctic marine species and ecosystems are undergoing pressure from cumulative changes in their physical, chemical and biological environment. Some changes may be gradual, but there may also be large and sudden shifts that can affect how the ecosystem functions.

Increases in the frequency of contagious diseases are being observed.

  • Incidents of avian cholera have increased in the northern Bering Sea and Arctic Archipelago.
  • The first designated Unusual Mortality Event in the U.S. Arctic occurred in 2011 and involved species of seals and walrus—essential food resources—affecting coastal community health, nutrition, cultural and economic well-being in areas of Canada, the U.S., and Russia.

The report provides advice to improve Arctic biodiversity monitoring activities to provide scientific information to policy makers more quickly. These include better coordination, standardisation of methods, improved consideration of Traditional and Local Knowledge, and attention to filling key information gaps.


Says report released at Arctic Council Ministerial

PRESS RELEASE: May 11, 2017: Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.

Protected areas in the Arctic as classified by IUCN Protected Areas Management categorizationThe Arctic Protected Areas Indicator Report catalogues the extent of protected areas across the Arctic and the trends in protected area establishment.

The report states that protected areas in the Arctic have doubled since 1980, with 4.6% of the marine and 20.2% of the terrestrial environment, or 11.4% of the total Arctic (3.7 million km2) achieving protected areas status under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories. The UN Aichi Biodiversity Target is to, by 2020, conserve 17% of terrestrial and inland water and to conserve 10% of coastal and marine areas by the same year. 

Ninety-two areas recognised under global international conventions are found in the Arctic. These include 12 World Heritage sites and 80 Ramsar (wetland) sites, which together cover 289,931 km2 (0.9% of the Arctic). Between 1985 and 2015, the total area covered by Ramsar sites almost doubled, while the total area designated as World Heritage sites increased by about 50% in the same period.

In 2013 the Arctic Council identified 98 “areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance” covering a vast area of about 14 million km2, via the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment process. Approximately 5% of those areas lie within protected areas according to the new report.

This report is part of a suite of indices and indicators developed by CAFF´s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) to provide a comprehensive picture of the state of Arctic biodiversity. 


Distribution of Arctic protected areas across IUCN categorization



Tom Barry, CAFF Executive Secretary: tom [AT] caff [DOT] is +354 861-9824

Soffía Guðmundsdóttir, PAME Executive Secretary: soffia [AT] pame [DOT] is  +354 863 8576






OCTOBER 9-11, 2018

The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity Working Group of the Arctic Council, is seeking individuals and organizations to provide abstracts, organize sessions and submit posters that will encourage a dialogue on Arctic biodiversity among scientists, indigenous peoples, policy makers, government officials,  students, industry representatives and others at the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2018.

Submit via the online submission system by March 30, 2018

CAFF in partnership with the Ministry of the Environment, Finland, is organizing the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2018 to promote the conservation and sustainable use of Arctic biodiversity. The Congress is relevant to all who wish to make specific and significant contributions to the conservation of Arctic biodiversity.

The Congress will be held in Rovaniemi, Finland on October 9-11, 2018, and will build upon the success of the first Congress, held in Norway in 2014.

Learn more about the Arctic Biodiversity Congress program and register now.

Please submit proposals for presentations, posters and/or sessions that address the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment recommendations and implementation actions by March 30, 2018.

Thank you for your interest in participating in and contributing to the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2018!

Please contact caff [AT] caff [DOT] is if you have any questions.


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