Analysis of process documentation

Formal process documentation includes meeting minutes of the Arctic Council and its working groups along with protocols and reports from ACIA's Assessment Steering Committee. This material was downloaded from websites run by the Arctic Council, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), and the ACIA. Neither the Arctic Council nor the ACIA have any organized archives other than the material posted on its website. The method to ensure that the material was reasonably complete was to follow up on numbers and dates of meetings. Additional material was gathered by direct contact with the secretariats of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and AMAP. This included older reports that were important for understanding the history of the process. The selection was based on suggestions from persons interviewed and references in more recent material. The documents used in the analysis are listed in Appendix I.

A major advantage of working with documents is that they have been recorded without direct intervention from me as a researcher, and thus provide an independent source of information in comparison to interviews and observations.13 Moreover documents, such as printed reports and official meeting minutes, provide a picture of how the participants want to present a process and its results to the world.14 The process documentation has been especially critical for analyzing the early parts of the ACIA process, where I have not been able to make direct observations and where people may have forgotten or changed their perceptions of what happened as time has passed. In the later part of the ACIA process, formal documentation is scarce. In the scientific assessment, much of the executive responsibility moved to the Assessment Integration Team and the Executive Committee, neither of which kept official written records of its meetings. In the policy process, discussions were held in closed meetings. Written material has therefore mainly been gathered ad hoc in connection with informal circulation of drafts or by asking participants in the process to share copies of relevant correspondence. This type of material is generally not publicly accessible and it has therefore not been possible to make any systematic archive searches.

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