A political platform combined with a scientific bridge

A key factor in the initiation of the ACIA was the presence of a regional regime that made the exercise salient, credible, and legitimate for key political actors in the region, in this case the eight Arctic states and the indigenous peoples as represented by the Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council. Making the ACIA salient entailed taking on issues that were important to specific actors, such as the connection to political rights in relation to indigenous peoples or the global role of Arctic climate change in relation to both states that wanted to further the global climate policy work and to indigenous peoples who wanted to claim a role for themselves as the spokespeople for nature. Credibility was helped by including both scientific and traditional knowledge, with the science side being important for ensuring that the results would be taken into account by the scientific community and by state actors and the traditional knowledge playing a similar role in relation to indigenous peoples. The most precarious issue appears to have been ensuring legitimacy of the process, judging from the constant balancing of the science-policy interface to ensure scientific independence without compromising a sense of ownership over the process by different key groups of actors: states, scientists, and indigenous peoples' organizations.

A second key factor in the Arctic case was the presence of a scientific organization -the International Arctic Science Committee - that could serve as a bridge between the regional regime and the global climate science community, along with a few key individuals with both global and Arctic interests. This most likely made the process more salient within the global climate science community because it addressed their interests of promoting more Arctic climate research. The process can be described as a regional regime providing a new platform for actor networks that had previously been active at the global level and serving as a connecting point to important regional political actor networks.

It is noteworthy that this large-scale circumpolar assessment did not come about until global and regional interests merged. Previous efforts had been more limited or smaller in geographic coverage.27 This suggests that the presence of scientific and political arenas with an interest in learning more about climate change in the region is important for regional climate knowledge production and also that a major assessment effort requires that the regional interests connect to global regimes.

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