The Policy Drafting Team

Despite some precedents from AMAP, it was unclear how the policy process should be set up. A complicating factor was that ACIA was a joint project between IASC, AMAP, and CAFF. At AMAP and CAFF's second joint meeting in Stockholm of August 2001, the task at hand was discussed and a decision made to: "use a handout developed at the meeting as a basis for a proposal to the SAOs [Senior Arctic Officials] for preparing the ACIA Policy Document. The AMAP and CAFF secretariats are charged with scoping out the proposal for review by the WGs before submission to the AC [Arctic Council] secretariat."138

The end result of these discussions was a Policy Drafting Team that was to be co-chaired by the chairs of AMAP and CAFF. Each country was invited to nominate a person, as were each of the Permanent Participants, for a total of fourteen individuals.139 One of the co-chairs of the Policy Drafting Team has described the group as consisting of three kinds of participants. Some countries had nominated climate negotiators while others had nominated science-policy oriented people, and the Permanent Participants were the watch-dogs over the process.140 For example, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark had climate negotiators in the group while the United States had chosen a person outside the climate policy community.141 The organizations with observer status in the AMAP Working Group and CAFF Working Group had no representation in the Policy Drafting Team. This includes IASC but also the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). A representative for the WWF has commented that this made the process very closed, compared to the working groups. Representation would have ensured some transpar

137 Executive Summary in AMAP. Arctic Pollution Issues Oslo: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, 1997, xi-xii

138 Minutes of the 2nd Joint AMAP-CAFF Meeting, Stockholm, Sweden, 31 August 2001.

139 Background Paper. "Preliminary Science and Policy Perspectives from the ACIA" Prepared for the Informal Meeting Organized by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council. Svalbard, Norway August 5-7, 2003.

140 Interview 3.

141 Interviews 10, 25, 74, and 64.

ency and more semblance of democratic open process.142 The CAFF executive secretary and chair describe the process as a negotiation where important interests were at stake, which created a need to keep the process closed. The parties were represented by negotiators and so this was no longer only about science. 143 As seen by CAFF's executive secretary, AMAP and CAFF were facilitators of the process, which implies a more limited role than what the AMAP Working Group had previously had in formulating policy advice, i.e. when negotiating the executive summaries of earlier assessments.

The Policy Drafting Team met for the first time during the cross-fertilization meeting in New Hampshire in March 2003. At this meeting, the major issue was to define the task. Based on a draft table of contents presented by a representative for the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the group produced an outline of what a policy document could contain.144 Already clear at this early point was the US sensitivity to anything connected to the global climate negotiations. As a result any mention of the Kyoto Protocol was out from the start.145 The team also agreed on a process in which the members were to deliver texts that the secretariat would compile into one document. The result of this was a rather extensive text, which served as a starting point for the next meeting of the Policy Drafting Team, in Copenhagen May 17, 2003. Key to the continued process was the troika that was appointed by the group to continue drafting together with the AMAP and CAFF secretariat.146 After their efforts and internal work within the AMAP secretariat, a new draft was sent out July 8, 2003, to all lead authors of the ACIA to get their assurance that the policy recommendations had backing in the scientific document.

At this point, time pressures started to mount. Not only was there the deadline of the 2004 Arctic Council ministerial meeting and the ambition to have a policy report printed and ready for distribution together with the scientific and overview reports but there was also an up-coming informal meeting with the Senior Arctic Officials. At the Rovaniemi Arctic Council meeting, it had become clear that the Senior Arctic Officials wanted to keep up-dated on developments in the ACIA. The AMAP co-chair of the Policy Drafting Team has described this as the Senior Arctic Officials wanting to have information on what policy issues would come on the table and the direction of the policy document, but without direct interference in the process.147 Still in the background were also some questions about the line between the scientific, overview, and policy documents.

As a result of the expressed wish to be informed, Norway invited the Senior Arctic Officials to an informal meeting on Svalbard in August 2003, where the progress for ACIA's different documents would be presented. This was a closed informal meeting with no official record.148 There was a suggestion about recording the chairman's notes,

142 Interview Samantha Smith, April 15, 2004.

143 Interviews with Magdalena Muir, March 24, 2004 and Kent Wohl, April 15, 2004.

144 Interviews 5, 10 and 27.

145 Interview 5 and 10.

147 Interview Policy Drafting Team co-chair Helgi Jensen, August 21, 2003

148 Letter to members of the Arctic Council and Permanent Participants from the Norwegian Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kim Traavik). February 21, 2003; Rapport frân mote angâende Arktiska râdets ACIA-arbete (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment), Longyearbyen (Ny Alesund, Svalbard, 5-7 augusti 2003. Miljodepartementet. PM 2003-08-08.

but this was met with resistance from several participants. The Policy Drafting Team co-chair from AMAP describes this discussion: "I was against it, because regardless of whether you say a paper exists, when it comes out, it does exist ... and even a non-paper will bind up part of the process."149 This illustrates that there was awareness that the policy process could run into situations that might require some flexibility.

At the meeting, the work of the Policy Drafting Team was laid out in a three-page background document and in a presentation by the Policy Drafting Team co-chair.150 His aim was to avoid detail but to discuss the overall structure of the document and he asked the delegations to funnel their reactions via their representatives on the Policy Drafting Team. He interpreted the reactions as generally positive, with some points for discussion, for example the balancing of the indigenous/non-indigenous issues in the presentation and also some input from climate negotiators on being clear about the need for emissions reductions.151

On one level, the work of the Policy Drafting Team thus got the go ahead from the policy makers. However, an event during the presentation of ACIA's scientific report turned out to be the early rumblings of future controversies in the policy work. The event was after a presentation on modeling when the US climate negotiator tried to discredit the models being used by ACIA and referred to a recent article that indicated that warming occurred in the Arctic in the 1920s and 1930s and that cooling followed.152 The ACIA chair has described these events: "I was happy with the outcome, but I tell you I was pretty scared 'cause he could have killed the whole meeting."153 Two people from within the ACIA process, who were present at the meeting, viewed the impasse from the US climate negotiator as a way to obstruct the process, including making statements such as "just taking this opportunity to try to sandbag the process" and "it was clear that the idea was to use scientific arguments to undermine or to make the basis for any decision so weak that it would be possible to say that we don't know any-thing."154 Was this an indication that the United States had woken up to the policy implications of the ACIA and had a need to get involved at a higher policy level than it had previously been? I suggest that it does. At Svalbard, the United States chief climate negotiator was present and a source privy to the US internal discussions indicated that the United States felt a need to get the process in line with the way climate was handled internationally.155 Within the context of the policy process as a whole, a Nordic climate negotiator has described the situation as Washington waking up and obstructing the process because they didn't want policy recommendations, and another participant de

149 Interview Policy Drafting Team co-chair Helgi Jensen, August 21, 2003.

150 Background Paper. "Preliminary Science and Policy Perspectives from the ACIA" Prepared for the Informal Meeting Organized by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council. Svalbard, Norway August 5-7, 2003.

151 Interview Policy Drafting Team co-chair Helgi Jensen, August 21, 2003.

152 Rapport fran mote angaende Arktiska radets ACIA-arbete (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment), Long-yearbyen (Ny Alesund, Svalbard, 5-7 augusti 2003. Miljodepartementet. PM 2003-08-08; Interview ACIA's chair Robert Corell August 14, 2003.

153 Interview Robert Corell, August 14, 2003.

154 Interviews 1 and 3.

155 Interview 25.

scribed the US actions at Svalbard indicating that they were hesitant about the proc-


At the next meeting of the Policy Drafting Team - in London in the beginning of October 2003 - the conflict between its work and United States policy needs came to the fore. At the start of the meeting, the US delegate tabled a paper that showed that the United States wanted to stop the work of the Policy Drafting Team. Just previous to the meeting, an e-mail with the paper as an attachment had been sent to the Senior Arctic Officials.157 After an expression of appreciation of the work of the Policy Drafting Team, the paper states:

As we have sought to review the draft Policy Document, we have come increasingly to the conclusion that there is a fundamental flaw in the process we are following - a process that is significantly different from that we have developed in the IPCC and other such efforts. Specifically, we are seeking here to develop the scientific assessment and its summary in tandem with the policy recommendations that logically should flow from them. Moreover, these policy recommendations should be developed only after governments have had an opportunity to consider the Scientific Document and the Synthesis Document on which they are based and draw their conclusions. In effect, we are putting the cart alongside the horse with the risk that neither cart nor horse will arrive at the destination.158

A key point in the document was also that the IPCC reports have a different status than many reports developed by the scientific community. One informant has interpreted this as the Unites States wanting to review the science of the ACIA.159 This shows that the controversies surrounding the policy document may not only have been from different views on what appropriate policy recommendations should be, which were well known from different positions in the global climate negotiations. Rather, the focus was on process and specifically the relations between science and policy. It brings to the fore a question of when and how science becomes policy relevant and the limits of the authority of science. For the United States, a key point appears to be that not only scientists, but also policy makers, should have a say in framing the issues. The US statement points out that "the IPCC process provides a number of opportunities for government review" and also that "IPCC summaries for policy makers are approved on a line-byline basis."160 Policy recommendations are framed as an issue for policy makers that should begin after, and in a separate process from the scientific assessment.

In spite of it being clear that the United States was not happy about the policy process in its present form, the issues brought up in the paper were put to the side for the rest of the meeting.161 It was "business-as-usual" as one person, who was present, expressed it, adding that it was not their task to change course but to follow the Ministerial Decla

156 Interviews 64 and 10.

157 Interview 31.

158 US Statement on Policy Document, distributed at the Policy Drafting Group Meeting in London October 2003, with copies distributed at the Assessment Integrations Team meeting October, 14, 2003

159 Interview 4.

160 US Statement on Policy Document, distributed at the Policy Drafting Group Meeting in London October 2003, with copies distributed at the Assessment Integrations Team meeting October, 14, 2003.

161 Interviews 4 and 10.

ration from Barrow.162 Also from the indigenous peoples' representatives' perspective the ministerial mandate from Barrow was the guiding principle that they put forward, emphasizing that the United States should not be able to stop the policy process.163 The meeting, instead, focused on producing text, making the document more to the point, and following up some of the comments received at the Svalbard informal meeting. Even if there had been some indication at the Svalbard meeting that the United States was hesitant about the process, it thus appears that the understanding of the group was that they should continue its work. Several people present have described the London drafting meeting as productive and that everyone present was working toward a common goal. The following quote captures the spirit of the meeting described in the interview material: "I don't think we would have been as productive if there hadn't been such a broad consensus about the task, and we were actually able to produce a very good document."164 This document was called the "London draft."

However, the US paper had made it unclear what status the London draft would have and what would happen to the policy process. It was expected that the US paper would be formally tabled at the upcoming meeting of Senior Arctic Officials setting counteractions from the Permanent Participants into motion. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference Alaska wrote a letter to the US Senior Arctic Official stating that "it will surely appear to the Arctic Council that the United States intends to delay preparation and presentation of the policy document until after the presidential election. In doing so, the United States is opening itself to criticism that domestic political and electoral considerations override agreed ministerial direction."165 The letter referred to the upcoming 2004 US presidential election that many people were speculating about informally. However, that did not appear to have any effect on the US position.

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