A joint process

As a result of AMAP's first assessment of climate change and ultraviolet radiation, the 1997 ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in Alta endorsed that AMAP should continue "activities for monitoring, data collection, exchange of data on the impacts of the effects of contaminants and their pathways, UV radiation and climate change on Arctic ecosystems with special emphasis on human health impacts and the effects of multiple stressors." It also states that the Senior Arctic Affairs Officials "recognise the need to initiate monitoring and assessment activities on climate change and ultraviolet-B radiation, focusing on the effects and interactions with other agents impacting the Arctic, and to forge linkages with other organisations."27 The report does not mention any climate impact assessment. Rather, the early discussion illustrates that the regional political cooperation in the AEPS framed climate change mainly as a concern in relation to its interaction with other environmental problems, such as contaminants and ultraviolet radiation and their effects on human health.

22 Specifically the development of a circumpolar vegetation map. See, CAFF International Working Group. Third Annual Meeting Report, 1994, 27

23 AMAP, Arctic Pollution Issues: A State of the Arctic Environment Report; AMAP, AMAP Assessment Report: Arctic Pollution Issues.

24 AMAP, Arctic Pollution Issues: A State of the Arctic Environment Report, x.

25 AMAP, Arctic Pollution Issues 2002; R. W. Macdonald, T. Harner, H. Fyfe, H. Loeng, and T. Wein-gartner, AMAP Assessment 2002: The Influence of Global Change on Contaminant Pathways To, Within, and From the Arctic (Oslo: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), 2002).

26 CAFF, Arctic Flora and Fauna. Status and Conservation (Helsinki: Edita, 2001), 86, 101, 126, 154, 180, 207, 255.

27 SAAO Report to the Ministers for the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS), June 12-13, 1997, Alta, Norway.

An early step in the continued work within AMAP was a joint workshop with CAFF on climate change in March 1998.28 The major task of the workshop was to inventory current research initiatives relevant for further monitoring activities and to define criteria for future monitoring. The objectives defined by AMAP and CAFF were in line with their respective core tasks, thus mirroring the documentation from the Alta ministerial meeting: "The ultimate objective of an AMAP/CAFF program on climate change is to provide policy advice on how pollution control and conservation planning in the Arctic should be modified to account for changes in climate."29 Similar to the Alta documentation, the report does not mention any need for a circumpolar climate impact assessment, such as the ACIA, but rather reflects a wish for building a long-term AMAP/CAFF program.

In the fall of 1998, the idea of an assessment appears in AMAP's Work Plan and is presented to the Senior Arctic Officials as "a new program on effects studies in relation to climate change and UV-B" in cooperation with CAFF and several other international organizations. The Ministerial Declaration welcomed this initiative.30 AMAP's 12th Working Group meeting in Helsinki in December of the same year featured a US proposal to produce a "circum-arctic synthesis of climate change impacts in the arctic."31 The discussion included the need for collaboration between AMAP and CAFF as well as with international fora outside the Arctic Council structure, in particular IASC. 32 The AMAP Working Group supported a proposal to establish an inter-organizational Assessment Steering Committee. The terms of reference gives the Assessment Steering Committee responsibility to oversee the assessment process for climate and UV and to coordinate the preparation of assessment reports together with the AMAP and CAFF secretariats. They also give it responsibility for preparing the reports "according to decisions made by the AMAP and CAFF [Working Groups] and to cooperate with appropriate international organizations.33 IASC was present as observer at the meeting and had mentioned in a statement that climate change and UV were two areas of joint interest. IASC is also mentioned specifically as potential representative to the Assessment Steering Committee. Another issue on the agenda was AMAP's Work Plan for 1998-2003. Here new priorities on effects due to changes in climate and UV-B effects became explicit and included scheduling of an assessment for 2006.34 After AMAP's 1997/98 assessment reports, there was thus a burst of preparations for the shift in focus toward a more active interest in assessing climate change and UV impacts compared to the earlier work of political cooperation in the Arctic.

Three months later, in March 1999, the Assessment Steering Committee created by AMAP held its first meeting. An important issue at this meeting was to determine who

28 CAFF Technical Report No 5. AMAP/CAFF Workshop on climate change, Rovaniemi, 24-25 March 1998.

29 CAFF Technical Report No 5, 6.

30 Report of the Senior Arctic Officials to the Arctic Council. Iqualit, Canada. September 17-18, 1998. Part 2B; The First Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council. Iqualuit, Canada September 17-18

31 Synthesis of Climate Impacts in the Arctic. Attachment to a discussion paper on climate change in the Arctic.

32 Minutes from AMAP 12th Working Group Meeting, Helsinki, December 7-9, 1998, 9-10.

33 Minutes from AMAP 12th Working Group Meeting, Helsinki, December 7-9, 1998, Appendix 8.

34 AMAP Strategic Plan 1998-2003. AMAP Report 99:6, 2 and Annex 4.

was to be involved in the assessment. Although climate change was seen as a major threat to biodiversity in CAFF's work, CAFF's representative said that the management board and the CAFF Working Group had yet to have a substantive discussion on the climate change issue: "Hence CAFF would not be able to define its involvement in a joint assessment at this meeting." He did, however, provide a list of issues of interest to CAFF. Interviews confirm that CAFF's initial involvement was very modest.35 IASC's representative brought attention to the importance of connections with the IPCC. According to the meeting minutes, "[i]t was suggested that Arctic could be one of IPCC's pilot areas and, since assessment needs a strong intergovernmental venue, the Arctic Council can give such an opportunity." AMAP, CAFF, IASC, and the IPCC were suggested as the main players. The meeting participants also stated that UV-B effect studies had no coordinating mechanism similar to the IPCC and also not the same attention by governments. Another issue raised was that the mandates of AMAP and CAFF were limited to the environmental impacts of climate change effects, and that the inclusion of socioeconomic aspects would therefore require a decision by the Arctic Council.36

During the following seven months, the main structure of the ACIA was drawn up. One event, with over a hundred participants, was a workshop in Troms0 with an aim to "identify the need and requirements for such an assessment and lay out the foundation for it by attempting to summarize some of the existing knowledge."37 The workshop featured presentations on a wide range of topics including physical, biological, and social impacts. Leaders of the previous sub-regional assessments also presented their findings, which may have inspired the idea of a sub-regional assessment in the ACIA as a way of linking biogeophysical impacts with human dimensions.38 Part of the document was based on work that had been carried out in the Bering Sea Impact Assessment. A special drafting meeting was also held in which AMAP, CAFF, IASC, and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) produced a proposal for an Arctic climate impact assessment, which was presented to the Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials meeting later that spring.39 According to the Arctic Council meeting minutes, the proposal was generally well received but more detail, along with a budget, was needed.40 A second meeting of the Assessment Steering Committee was held in Copenhagen to prepare a more detailed outline of content and strategy for ACIA, and in November 1999, ACIA was presented to AMAP's 13th Working Group meeting as well as to the Senior Arctic Officials.41 The sections included, at this stage, were a 20-page summary of scientific findings, an assessment of current literature and analysis of emerging data as

35 Interviews Magdalena Muir, March 24, 2004, Kent Wohl, April 15, 2004, and Robert Corell, November 21, 2004.

36 Minutes from the 1st meeting of the Assessment Steering Committee. Silver Spring, MD, USA, March 11, 1999.

37 Impacts of Global Climate Change in the Arctic Regions. Report from a Workshop on the Impacts of Global Change 25-26April, 1999. Tromse, Norway. International Arctic Science Committee 1999, 3.

38 Personal communication Steward Cohen, March 3, 2007.

39 Minutes from the 13th Meeting of Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme Working Group (AMAPWG). Toronto, Canada, November 10-12, 1999. AMAP Report 99:5, agenda item 2.2; Written personal communication from Odd Rogne, March 31, 2004.

40 Senior Arctic Officials Meeting. Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A. May 3-6, 1999. Minutes revised September 28, 1999.

41 Present at this meeting was also the International Council for Exploration of the Seas.

well as a policy document aimed at Senior Arctic Officials and ministers. The questions raised about how to handle socioeconomic questions were not resolved, although IASC offered to provide expertise. Including traditional ecological knowledge in the assessment was discussed and supported by a remark from the Inuit Circumpolar Conference delegate. It stated that it was important that "information such as this gets into the global climate negotiations."42

At the Senior Arctic Officials' meeting, the United States, then under the Clinton administration, offered to serve as the lead country for the project including organizing a scoping workshop and providing funding for the staff, the secretariat, and the participation by US experts as well as publishing and distributing the final report. Some countries expressed a concern about the socioeconomic issues and how they would be included in the assessment.43 This turned out to be a recurring theme during the ACIA process and would also have consequences for the framing of climate change, which is discussed further in Chapter 6 of this dissertation. There were also some concerns about the review and adoption of policy recommendations, an issue than turned out to be a major stumbling block, which is discussed further in section 5.4.

By the next Arctic Council meeting, the ACIA process was well underway. A key event was the scoping workshop, to which over 40 experts were invited to discuss the potential content of the ACIA scientific report. The workshop documentation identifies AMAP, CAFF, and IASC as the key players to be formally involved in the assessment as joint organizers and core participants in the Assessments Steering Committee. It also mentions a secretariat at the International Arctic Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Moreover, the links to the IPCC were clear, for example, the first lines of the introduction to the workshop state: "For several years, the IPCC has been preparing periodic assessments of global climate change. As this process has matured, it has become clear that there is a need to obtain a better characterization of climate variability and change at regional scales."44 In addition, work was carried out to create a formal connection via an appointed liaison between ACIA and the IPCC.

Some decisions had already been made about the content of the assessment. For example, it was stated from the onset that the definition of climate was broad and specifically included ultraviolet radiation. Another directive was that primary attention was to be paid to the impacts of climate change. The draft implementation plan also included an outline of the assessment report. Even if there was a call to the working groups to discuss whether the plan was sufficiently inclusive, it still illustrates that the overall framing of climate change in ACIA was formulated at a very early stage and in a way that specifically focused on climate change impacts. The formal documentation does not give any indication that alternative foci were discussed. This could possibly be ex

42 Minutes from AMAP 13th Working Group Meeting, Toronto, Canada November 10-12, 1999. See also Minutes of the Second Meeting of Assessment Steering Group II (ASG II) of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. Toronto, Canada, November 8-10, 1999. AMAP Working Paper 99:3.

43 Senior Arctic Officials Meeting. Washington D.C. U.S.A. November 18-19, 1999. Minutes Draft (4/12/2000).

44 ACIA. Report of the 3rd Meeting of the Assessments Steering Committee and a Scoping Workshop, February 28 - March 1, 2000, Washington, DC, U.S.A. ACIA report No. 1.

plained by the history of the Arctic political cooperation and the way it had placed the primary responsibility for climate change knowledge production and policy with global regimes. Moreover, as discussed in the previous chapter, the United States had been a major driver behind the establishment of the IPCC, and may not have wanted the ACIA to compete in IPCC's domain.

Although, policy recommendations did not appear as a central topic at the workshop, the minutes indicate that an agreement was set that policy issues should be left to the politically mandated working groups of CAFF and AMAP. The argument was that "science and action recommendations to the Arctic Council had been part of their earlier activities."45 This illustrates an effort to separate the policy from the scientific process, but possibly also a need to actively involve policy makers somewhere in the ACIA process, in line with IASC's discussion paper on how to set up an assessment.

At the Arctic Council meeting in April 2000, the political discussion about the ACIA continued among Senior Arctic Officials, reaffirming some of the same points that had been raised earlier. This included the concern about how the assessment should handle socioeconomic aspects. Also, several countries (Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) explicitly brought up the need to clearly separate the scientific and political parts of the process. A statement in the meeting minutes from Sweden can serve as example: "Sweden said that they were still doubtful whether the ACIA should address the political implications, stressing that a clearer division is needed between politics and science."46 Another issue raised by the ACIA, represented by Robert Corell, was the need to ensure the full participation of indigenous groups in the process. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference and Saami Council emphasized the role of traditional and indigenous knowledge, stating, for example, that "traditional knowledge can be just as expert as science."

Half a year later, at the second ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council, in Barrow, Alaska, the stage was set for the political representatives to make a formal decision about the ACIA. The 12-page implementation plan presented to the meeting included an outline of the scientific report along with the structure and major contents of each chapter. The overall goal of the ACIA is stated as follows:

• Evaluate and synthesize knowledge about climate variability, climate change, and increased UV radiation and their consequences, and

• Provide useful and reliable information to the governments, organizations and peoples of the Arctic region in order to support policy-making processes and to IPCC's further work on climate change issues.

The assessment will include environmental, human health, and social and economic impacts and recommend further actions. This assessment will be conducted in the context of other developments and pressures on the Arctic environment, its economy, regional resources, and peoples. 47

45 ACIA. Report of the 3rd Meeting of the Assessments Steering Committee and a Scoping Workshop, February 28 - March 1, 2000, Washington, DC, U.S.A. ACIA report No. 1.

46 Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials Meeting, Fairbanks, Alaska, April 27-28, 2000. Minutes revised 10/12/00.

47 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) Implementation Plan version 3.7, prepared by the Assessment Steering Committee September 2000. Document for the Barrow Ministerial meeting.

The implementation plan also laid out a process for the review of the scientific and synthesis documents "to assure scientific quality," and that "AMAP and CAFF will review the Policy Document through their national networks." The responsibility for producing the policy document was also clearly placed with AMAP and CAFF, rather than with ACIA's Assessment Steering Committee. In the "guiding principles," it is clear that the authors wanted to guard the scientific integrity and independence of the process from "political and commercial pressures."48

The ministers endorsed and adopted the ACIA. Their request specified that the assessment was to support "policy making processes and the work of the IPCC" and that it was to include policy recommendations.49 This meeting marked the formal political approval of the ACIA process and therefore it is useful to pause for an analysis of some key issues in this early phase of the ACIA.

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