The Arctic Council

The Arctic Council and its working groups AMAP and CAFF, together with the International Arctic Science Committee, are the core of the formal context of the ACIA. The role of the Arctic Council appears to vary substantially between the different chapters. A major influence appears to be that the norms and structure of the Arctic Council created a position from which the Arctic Council's Permanent Participants were able to express their knowledge and priorities. This is most clear in Chapter 3. The Changing Arctic: Indigenous Perspectives, and in Chapter 12. Hunting, Herding, Fishing and Gathering: Indigenous Peoples and Renewable Resource Use in the Arctic. For example, in ACIA's Chapter 3, the Permanent Participants are visible in the chapter structure as well as through the affiliations of many of the case study authors. Moreover, one of the lead authors attests to the balancing act between providing such dedicated space in the chapter and the scientific aspects of doing an assessment.90 For ACIA's Chapter 12, the role of the Permanent Participants is explicit in the acknowledgements: "The chapter as a whole has developed with significant advice, guidance, and input from the Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council .. ,"91 In addition, an interview with a representa

89 ACIA, Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 26.

90 Interview Henry Huntington, December 21, 2004.

91 Chapter 12. Hunting, Herding, Fishing, and Gathering: Indigenous People and Renewable Resource Use in the Arctic," 687.

tive of one of the Permanent Participants indicates that they had an active role in recruiting and finding financial resources for a lead author whom they trusted.92

The Arctic Council norms, mirrored in the ACIA, were also important for including indigenous knowledge in some other chapters. For example, the lead author for Chapter 7. Arctic Tundra and Polar Desert Ecosystems mentioned that it was an important factor for his chapter, including the practical help from the secretariat to involve a scientist with background in anthropology to strengthen this aspect of the discussion.93 I argue that the extensive inclusion of indigenous peoples in the ACIA is an example of how the policy context of an assessment can play a major role for the knowledge that is included. Based on the previously discussed connection between indigenous perspectives, a local scale preference, and a focus on issues of interconnectedness, I also argue that it shows how the policy context and the people who are active in the assessment can play a role for what framings are brought to the fore. It is not that the ACIA has replaced one framing of climate change with another, but that Arctic Council policy setting appears to have been important in giving a human dimension to the science of Arctic climate change in addition to the well-established focus on physical aspects of the Arctic climate.

The Arctic Council is also visible in the ACIA scientific report through its working groups, i.e. the groups of politically mandated experts that are in charge of the scientific work of the Arctic Council, such as assessment activities. As discussed earlier, CAFF appears to have played a major role in bringing an emphasis on biodiversity and conservation issues to what became Chapter 10. Principles on Conserving the Arctic's Biodiversity. Moreover, this chapter highlights the importance of a circumpolar biodiversity monitoring network, which is one of CAFF's priorities. This push late in the process cannot be explained by a change in norms within CAFF. Rather, the change comes when the CAFF secretariat gets a new executive secretary and thus may have more to do with CAFF's organizational capacity to be an effective actor in the ACIA process. An interview with the new executive secretary reveals that she found it important to push CAFF's priorities and that she put efforts into finding a new lead author at a very late point in the process.94

AMAP plays a role in the ACIA report because its two major assessments of pollution in the Arctic serve as a key knowledge base in any discussion of contaminants, specifically in Chapter 8. Freshwater Ecosystems and Fisheries and Chapter 17. Climate Change in the Context of Multiple Stressors and Resilience. The use of AMAP as a knowledge base is not unique to the ACIA. It is also apparent in the polar chapter of IPCC's Working Group II. In the ACIA scientific report, the inclusion of contaminants is very spotty. Chapter 9 on marine systems hardly discusses contaminants at all, in spite of the fact that the lead author has a long history of involvement with AMAP. There thus may not have been a strong normative push from within the Arctic Council to include contaminant issues in the assessment, i.e. contaminants were not assumed to be important in relation to climate change. Rather, the major policy influence might be a result of the fact that previous efforts and priorities have created a strong knowledge

92 Interview Terry Fenge, May 3, 2004.

93 Interview Terry Callaghan, November 10, 2004.

94 Interview Magdalena Muir, March 24 2004.

base, which was available for the authors who chose to use it. Contaminants are also discussed in Chapter 15. Human Health. Here both actor networks and norms are at play. The network is visible through the presence of AMAP's human health group, who initially developed the chapter. The norms are visible in the way in which health in discussed, similar to an earlier AMAP report highlighting how health integrates a number of different aspects. This would illustrate how a long-term policy commitment, in this case of the Arctic Council and AMAP to human health issues, can help build actor networks with common norms that become important for how an issue becomes framed in a future assessment.

0 0

Post a comment