Arctic in Focus: Report, Meetings Focus on Adaptation Efforts in the Region
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
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The AMAP report highlights the contribution of resilience building and vulnerability-centered adaptation in achieving relevant SDG 13 targets for the Baffin Bay/Davis Strait Region and the Arctic.

PARCOF-1 provided seasonal predictions to improve weather, climate and sea ice forecasts in the Arctic in support of ongoing climate change adaptation and decision making in climate-sensitive sectors.

The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum’s web portal provides links to information essential for implementation of and compliance with the Polar Code to help plan for safe and environmentally sound Arctic navigation.

18 May 2018: Recent activities related to Arctic policy include the publication of a report titled, ‘Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic: Perspectives from the Baffin Bay/Davis Strait Region,’ by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP). In addition, the first ever Pan-Arctic Regional Climate Outlook Forum (PARCOF-1) took place, and the Arctic Council’s Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum has launched a web portal to help implement the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, or the Polar Code, of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The AMAP report highlights difficulties in identifying the most appropriate actions for responding to climate change in the region, given that various other drivers compound the climate impacts. It stresses the need to build in flexibility and to adjust to increasing variability and new extremes, taking into consideration the cumulative impacts of climate, weather and economic change. The report notes that, in the short term, adaptation efforts would be more “climate centered,” focusing on extreme events and indisputable impacts. However, it explains that responses to longer-term impacts must target other drivers of change in the Arctic, including social, economic and demographic conditions and development trajectories, and may be more focused on reducing existing vulnerabilities that climate change could exacerbate.

The report highlights the contribution of resilience building and vulnerability-centered adaptation in achieving three relevant SDG 13 (climate action) targets for the Baffin Bay/Davis Strait Region and the Arctic as a whole, namely: target 13.1 on strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters; target 13.2 on integrating climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning; and target 13.3 on improving education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning. The report also contributes to other SDGs by proposing adaptation options for the region related to health and safety (SDG 3), education (SDG 4), living resources (SDGs 14 and 15), non-living resources, tourism, shipping and infrastructure (SDG 9). [Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic: Perspectives from the Baffin Bay/Davis Strait Region]

The AMAP report also contributes to other SDGs by proposing adaptation options for the region related to health and safety, education, living resources, non-living resources, tourism, shipping and infrastructure.

PARCOF-1 convened from 15-16 May 2018 in Ottawa, Canada, to provide seasonal predictions to improve weather, climate and sea ice forecasts in the Arctic in support of climate change adaptation efforts and decision making in climate-sensitive sectors. The Forum, which was organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and others, acted as the launch of an Arctic Regional Climate Centre Network, which will consist of three sub-regional geographical nodes: North America, Northern Europe and Greenland, and Eurasia.

During the Forum, representatives of Arctic indigenous organizations shared their knowledge about changing conditions, discussed challenges faced, and detailed the type of forecasts and climate services they require. Commercial shipping stakeholders from the dry-bulk and tourism sectors also discussed their need to access climate and weather information in the Arctic to undertake their activities and ensure safety.

PARCOF sessions will be held twice a year: a face-to-face meeting in April/May preceding the summer ice breakup, and a virtual meeting in October before the ice returns in the Arctic winter. [WMO Press Release] [PARCOF-1 Website] [Statement for Arctic Summer 2018 Season Outlook]

The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum’s web portal provides links to information essential for implementation of and compliance with the Polar Code, including on hydrographic, meteorological and ice data, to help plan for safe and environmentally sound Arctic navigation. The portal will be regularly updated and expanded as new information becomes available. The portal was launched during the second meeting of the Forum, which convened from 14-15 May 2018, in London, UK. The Forum was established in 2017 to help raise awareness and promote effective implementation of the Polar Code. [Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Press Release] [Arctic Council Press Release] [Web Portal]

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