Arctic climate change assessment planned

Second ministerial meeting of Arctic Council agrees new projects, calls for global mercury study

An assessment of the impacts of climate change on the arctic environment has been adopted as a priority for the Arctic Council, which held its second ministerial meeting this week in Alaska. The council also agreed to develop projects under its newly established action plan to eliminate arctic pollution and called on the UN Environment Programme to undertake a global environmental impact assessment of mercury emissions.

Chairmanship of the council, which was created in 1996 to represent the concerns of the arctic region, has been held by the USA for two years and now passes to Finland. Its work has included pollutant reduction schemes, biodiversity monitoring, plans for a network of circumpolar protected areas, assessment of oil spill risks and calls for faster progress on global controls for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) (ENDS Daily 27 March).

Arctic Council members are five European countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - plus Russia, Canada and the USA. Six associations representing indigenous peoples of the arctic region have permanent participation status.

Follow Up:
Arctic Council, tel: +35 89 13 41 61 87.

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