In documentation from early discussions about an Arctic climate impact assessment, there is no mention of a separate policy document. Rather, policy makers are seen as part of the process in producing a summary for policy makers, for example in an IASC discussion paper for successful assessments: "The selection of what's to be included
124 Annex 7 Minutes of the 3rd Joint AMAP- CAFF Meeting, Oslo, Norway 15.16 April 2004 in AMAP report 2004:1; Observation notes Joint AMAP-CAFF Meeting April 15-16, 2004.
125 Interview Bert Bolin, September 15, 2005.
126 All Arctic countries except Russia, Permanent Participants (Inuit Circumpolar Conference and Saami Council) as well as the chair of the Policy Drafting Team and the Senior Arctic Officials. A list of all people interviewed in the dissertation is included in Appendix II.
should preferably be done in co-operation with those having requested the analysis. This is important in order to involve the non-scientific community in order to make the summary as relevant as possible and to involve the non-scientific community and in particular politicians that may be involved in transforming policy into action."127 Records from the early meetings of the Assessment Steering Committee, which was established when the ideas of IASC were joined with initiatives in AMAP and CAFF, also do not indicate any discussion of a policy document. But the idea of such a document must have been on the radar, because it shows up in a presentation of the ACIA in an AMAP Working Group meeting in November 1999 and again in the presentations by ACIA's chair for the Senior Arctic Officials in both Washington in November 1999 and in Fairbanks in April 2000 as one of three documents anticipated to come from the study: "A policy document that makes recommendations based on analysis."128
From the beginning, the exact relationship between the policy process and the scientific assessment are not clear. This is a politically sensitive issue that reappears in the final year of the assessment and illustrates the tension between policy and scientific spheres. However, as early as the Fairbanks meeting in April 2000, several delegates expressed a need for a clear distinction between the science assessment and policy recommendations. By June that year, the Assessment Steering Committee talked about policy recommendations as something that "AMAP and CAFF will make to the Arctic Council after the scientific assessment is complete."129 As working groups under the Arctic Council, AMAP and CAFF are bodies with national political representation and their negotiations are based on political mandates. In the beginning of September, the AMAP Working Group and CAFF Working Group held a joint meeting where the ACIA was a major task on the agenda. They agreed that AMAP and CAFF would jointly follow up the scientific assessment with policy recommendations and that there was a need to start thinking about the process for developing such a document.130
In October 2000, the ACIA was on the agenda for the Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Barrow, with expectations of a formal go-ahead from the highest political level. As mentioned earlier, there were some questions about the relations of these recommendations to science, but from the perspective of the Permanent Participants, the issue appears to have been quite clear. Recalling the Barrow meeting, one indigenous peoples' representative has described the inclusion of a policy document as a very deliberate strategy: "We knew very early on that we wanted to ensure that this wasn't just some sort of academic assessment. We wanted to be able to utilize the Barrow Declaration to make sure we got in policy recommendations."131 At the other end of the spectrum was the United States who, according to the written record, brought up the global arena in such a way that one could only interpret it as a scepticism towards the role of
127 Some principles for conducting Scientific Assessments by IASC (A sketch by Bert Bolin). Discussion paper prepared for IASC's Executive Committee January 28, 1999.
128 Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials Meeting, Fairbanks, Alaska, April 27-28, 2000. Minutes revised 10/12/00. Agenda Item 7.
129 Summary Report of the 5th Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) Meeting, June 15-16, 2000, Danish Polar Center, Copenhagen, Denmark.
130 Minutes from the Joint meeting between AMAP and CAFF regarding ACIA, September 4, 2000, Trondheim Norway.
the Arctic Council in the context of climate policy: "The impact of climate change was predicted to be most serious in the polar regions and that is proving to be true. It will be fixable only with global action, not just by the people in the region."132 However, the written documentation does not indicate any outspoken opposition to having a policy document, rather the opposite. Several country representatives mentioned the need for policy conclusions, albeit with different forces in their emphasis:
It is important to draw policy recommendations. (Finland)
We must use the information in the policy making process. (Denmark/Greenland)
We emphasize the political implication of this work by advocating strong ACIA-SAO [Senior Arctic Officials] links. (Norway)133
The implementation plan adopted at the Barrow ministerial meeting indicates that there was agreement on the need for a policy document. Under the bullet point "Policy Document," it sets out that
AMAP and CAFF will produce a final document and will relate the information from the synthesis and scientific documents to the policy needs of the Arctic Council and provide recommendations for follow-up actions. AMAP and CAFF will address the question of what strategies can be recommended to cope with the current environmental stresses, and possibly lessen the impact of these changes in the climate and ultraviolet radiation. These recommendations will include advice relevant to national and international policy as well as advice to inhabitants of the Arctic. AMAP and CAFF will present a plan for the SAOs [Senior Arctic Officials] on how this document shall be elaborated.134
Compared to the early discussion of the ACIA within IASC, there had been a shift in focus from an assessment where policy makers could recognize that their knowledge needs are met to producing an additional document with policy advice. How should this transition be understood? For background, it is useful to look at previous reports produced by AMAP. They included politically negotiated executive summaries with policy recommendations, which several actors have pointed to as being important for shaping global environmental policy.135 Even if there is no precedent for a separate policy document within the Arctic Council setting, it is still clear that there is a contrast between the executive summaries in the AMAP reports and the IPCC norms of being policy relevant but not policy prescriptive.136 The executive summary of the first AMAP report features several examples of policy prescriptive advice, including recommenda
132 Arctic Council. Notes from the Second Ministerial Meeting. Barrow, Alaska, U.S.A. October 12-13, 2000.
133 Arctic Council. Notes from the Second Ministerial Meeting. Barrow, Alaska, U.S.A. October 12-13, 2000.
134 Implementation Plan Version 3.7. as presented the Arctic Council Second Ministerial Meeting, Barrow, Alaska, U.S.A. October 12-13, 2000.
135 AMAP, Arctic Pollution Issues 2002; Downie and Fenge, Northern Lights Against POPs.
136 IPCC, 16 Years of Scientific Assessment in Support of the Climate Convention, 2.
tions to establish a legally binding regime on persistent organic pollutants.137 Experiences from the Arctic regime thus appear to have played a role in shifting the formula from a summary for policy makers (an IPCC model) into the more explicit policy recommendation domain. However, something else also made it important to separate the policy recommendations from the scientific report and the overview, in contrast to the previous AMAP model. As discussed in section 5.3 of this chapter, the highly contentious nature of climate policy may have played a role, especially in light of opposing positions among the Arctic countries. Another reason could be the influence of the IPCC norms to not mix science and policy prescriptive advice. The organizational structure of the ACIA process may also have played a role, where the Assessment Steering Committee was not a political body with national representatives, in contrast to the AMAP Working Group and CAFF Working Group. The ACIA would thus not have had any political mandate to negotiate a policy document.
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