Wetland. Photo: Pi-Lens/Shutterstock.comThe Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council is hosting a public event in partnership with the Arctic Council Canadian chairmanship, the Yukon Government and the Yukon Science Institute:

“Arctic waters and biodiversity in a time of change”

The event will bring together Arctic experts to present and discuss the changes facing Arctic communities in light of the environmental changes to Arctic freshwater and sea ice ecosystems.

Speakers will present the latest scientific findings on freshwater and sea ice ecosystems and wildlife from the Life Linked to Ice report (to be released at 12 noon earlier that day) and the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment report (released in May 2013), and describe the effects on communities.

Speakers include:

  • Patrick Borbey, chair of the Senior Arctic Officials
  • Risa Smith, CAFF chair, Environment Canada
  • Colleen Henry, project coordinator, Arctic Athabaskan Council
  • Lindsay Staples, contributing author, Life Linked to Ice report
  • Todd Powell, manager, Biodiversity Programs, Environment Yukon

Speakers will be available for interview after the event.

Date: October 23, 2013

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre, Kilometre 1423 (Mile 886) Alaska Hwy., Whitehorse, Yukon



Courtney Price

CAFF International Secretariat

+354 821-3609,  Courtney EP_AT caff EP_DOT is


Media Relations Office

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

613-995-1874,  media EP_AT international EP_DOT gc EP_DOT ca

VACANCY: Data Officer

The CAFF (Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna – www.caff.is) International Secretariat based in Akureyri is looking for a Data officer. CAFF is one of six working groups of the Arctic Council and deals with Arctic biodiversity issues.  This position is for initially a one year contract and will involve maintenance and development of a variety of database tools and services connected with information on Arctic biodiversity.

Main tasks:

  • Maintenance and development of databases within the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS – www.abds.is)
  • Working with experts to facilitate their data management requirements
  • Report writing
  • Other incidental tasks


  • University degree in a relevant field
  • Experience/knowledge of GIS and database development
  • Data quality assurance and control experience
  • Managing multiple data sets for incorporation/consolidation
  • Experience in managing multiple partners for collaborative project development
  • Synthesizing and interpreting biological data, particularly GIS/ spatial data
  • Ability to learn and manage number of project partners to meet project deadlines
  • Ability to understand and implement metadata, web services, and data standards/protocol
  • Presenting and communicating CAFF data issues and progress to international scientific audiences
  • Good communication and relationship buidling skills
  • Fluency in spoken and written English is essential
  • Knowledge of other languages, such as Russian or Scandinavian languages is an advantage but not essential 

CAFF is the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council and serves as a vehicle to cooperate on species and habitat management and utilization, to share information on management techniques and regulatory regimes, and to facilitate more knowledgeable decision-making. It provides a mechanism to develop common responses on issues of importance for the Arctic ecosystem such as development and economic pressures, conservation opportunities and political commitments. Further information can be found at www.caff.is

Recruitment is in the hands of Tom Barry ( tom EP_AT caff EP_DOT is / + 354 461 3352). Application deadline is 16th of October.


“The Arctic Biodiversity Assessment found that climate change was one of the greatest threats to our nature and the report is an important part of our knowledge building about climate change impacts on our nature. It is important for us all to stand as one and contribute to this work, for only in this way can we safeguard a healthy nature for posterity as well”

Miiti Lynge, Minister for Housing, Nature and the Environment, Greenland at the NorBalWet conference

George Burba/shutterstock.comSeptember 10, 2013, Ilulissat, Greenland- Last week the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group of the Arctic Council provided an Arctic perspective to the Nordic-Baltic Wetlands Initiative (NorBalWet) conference, a regional initiative under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, to discuss northern wetlands and climate change.

The recent Arctic Biodiversity Assessment has identified climate change as the most prominent environmental driver affecting freshwater ecosystems, their ability to function and their related biodiversity. Click here to read more about the Freshwater Ecosystems chapter of the ABA

The conference, entitled “Nordic wetlands in a time of climate change, mitigation, resilience and adaptation” identified impacts of climate change on wetlands, explored their function in regulating climate, and sought opportunities for solutions.  Participants discussed how NorBalWet stakeholders may address relevant Ramsar resolutions regarding wetlands, climate change, and Ramsar sites. The conversation also included recommendations for improving collaboration and information exchange in the Nordic-Baltic region.

In July 2012 CAFF signed a Resolution of Cooperation with the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention. As part of this cooperation, CAFF was invited to share its circumpolar knowledge and experience during the workshop and explore possibilities for professional collaboration between CAFF and NorBalWet. 


Tom Barry, CAFF, Miiti Lynge, Greenland Minister for Housing, Nature and the Environment, Inge Thaulow, Government of Greenland and Tobias Salathe, Ramsar Secretariat attend the NorBalWet meetingTom Barry

Executive Secretary

Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna

tom EP_AT caff EP_DOT is 





Inge Thaulow

Chair of NorBalWet

Greenland national representative to CAFF

Special Advisor to the Government of Greenland

Ministry of Housing, Nature and the Environment

 inth EP_AT mail EP_DOT ghsdk EP_DOT dk










About NorBalWet

NorBalWet initiative is an operational measure to provide effective support for improved implementation of the objectives of the Ramsar Convention, thereby contributing to more effective conservation and wise use of wetlands and enhanced international wetlands co-operation in the Nordic-Baltic region. The Nordic Baltic region covers a wide geographic area which includes Denmark, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and Oblasts from North-West Russia. Greenland is the Chair of NorBalWet.

BiodiversityJournal of life on Earth is currently welcoming scientific papers for upcoming issues and invites researchers to put paper(s) forward. Every paper is peer-reviewed via our ScholarOne platform. 

Biodiversity is an international quarterly journal published since 2000, by Biodiversity Conservancy International, and both the CAFF Executive Secretary, Tom Barry, and the previous chair of CAFF Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP), Mike Gill are on the journal's editorial board

The aim of Biodiversity is to raise an appreciation and deeper understanding of species, ecosystems and the interconnectedness of the living world and thereby effect the proper management, sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity. Articles are written for a broad readership including scientists, educators, policy makers, conservationists, science writers, naturalists and students. Biodiversity aims to provide an international forum on all matters concerning the integrity and wellness of ecosystems and the diversity of species.

For more information please visit Biodiversity online at Taylor & Francis Journals or contact Biodiversity's Managing Editor Vanessa Reid: reidva EP_AT biodiversityconservancy EP_DOT org. Papers can be uploaded directly through our ScholarOne website:    http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/tbid 

June 10, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska - Today, the Secretariats of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and the Partnership for the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAFP) signed a Resolution of Cooperation to better coordinate efforts to promote and protect birds along a migratory flywaythat is home to over 50 million waterbirds. 

The East Asia-Australasian Flyway is a major waterbird migratory route. It extends from the Arctic Circle in Russia and Alaska, southwards through East and South-east Asia, to Australia and New Zealand in the south, encompassing 22 countries. The flyway contains the migratory passage of 33 globally threatened species as designated by IUCN.  Migratory waterbirds – shorebirds, ducks, swans, geese and cranes – share this flyway with 45 percent of the world's human population, and some species are under threatas a result of human activities including habitat alteration and destruction. According to the last Arctic Report Card, Arctic wader populations plummeted for eleven of the 32 species assessed including Eastern Curlew, Great Knot, Red Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit. Scientists do not know enough about current or past populations to determine a trend for the remaining 21 Arctic species.

The remaining populations of some of the most-at-risk Arctic bird specieslive in this flyway, including for example the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, a Critically Endangered shorebird facing imminent extinction. This bird breeds in Chukotka, Russia and passes through coastal wetlands in China while migrating to wintering grounds in South-east Asia.

According to the recently published Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, during the last 30 years, the number of Spoon-billed Sandpipers has decreased dramatically from about 6,000 breeding pairs to just a few hundred pairs. Besides loss of habitat in staging and wintering areas, the most critical cause of the decline appears to be indiscriminate hunting in parts of Southeast Asia, where the birds are caught in mist nets and sold to local markets as food. Loeffelstrandlaeufer m coral 20110623 Meynipylgino RU 58 singend 1

In the region including Alaska, at least 29 species of ducks, geese, gulls, loons, eiders, and shorebirds regularly migrate across the Bering Strait. Three species are of particular note, since a large portion, or the entire population migrates through the EAAF. These include the Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.The ‘western’ Bar-tailed Godwit nests only in Alaska and spends the winter in New Zealand and Eastern Australia. On theirnorthward migration the entire population of these Godwits, which numbers between 100,000 and 150,000 birds, stage for several weeks exclusively on intertidal habitats of the Yellow Sea. These habitats are facing unprecedented and continuous rates of habitat alteration. On its southward migration, Godwits fly from Alaska nonstop directly across the Pacific Ocean to their over wintering grounds. Migratory birds link all corners of the world. To conserve migratory species effectively, international cooperation between Arctic and non-Arctic States is required.

To this end the CAFF and EAAFP objectives and activities complement one another. The Resolution of Cooperation formalizes cooperation and contributes to building and sharing knowledge, creating awareness and enhancing capacity for conservation of migratory bird species along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The document was signed at the 7th Meeting of the Partners to the EAAFP in Anchorage, Alaska, hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. representative to the CAFF.

The EAAFP intends to use relevant and available opportunities to promote the importance of Arctic migratory bird species, including status, trends and threats, and the dissemination of CAFF program material where appropriate. CAFF intends to seek opportunities to raise awareness, and develop supportive actions for the conservation of migratory bird species and focus attention on the challenges facing species along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. CAFF’s Arctic Biodiversity Assessment and Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program will facilitate the exchange of information on migratory bird species along this important flyway.


Download the Resolution of Cooperation



Tom Barry

Executive Secretary, CAFF      

  tom EP_AT caff EP_DOT is

+354 861 9824


Spike Millington

Chief Executive, EAAFP

  chief EP_AT eaaflyway EP_DOT net

+82 32 260 3010


About the Partnership for the East Asian-Australasian Flyway

The Partnership, adopted in the list of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as a Type II initiative – is an informal and voluntary initiative, which aims to protect migratory waterbirds, their habitats and the livelihoods of people dependent upon them within the Flyway. There are currently 30 partners including 15 national governments, four intergovernmental agencies, 10 international non-government organizations and one international business organization. For more information see www.eaaflyway.net.


About the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna

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 see www.caff.is.


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