From March 6-7, 2008, the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) convened a group of international experts and stakeholders from arctic nations to participate in a workshop entitled “Building a Partnership for Enhanced Understanding and Conservation of Arctic Biodiversity,” held at World Wildlife Fund’s Washington DC headquarters.
IUCN’s USA Multilateral Office, in partnership with CBMP and Fish & Wildlife Service, organized and facilitated the Workshop, and was represented by participants Harlan Cohen, Advisor on Ocean Governance and International Institutions, and Jen Palmer, Marine Program Officer.
The Workshop, which attracted a diverse group of participants representing government agencies, academic institutions, international NGOs and foundations, built on several years of substantive program development and planning. The CBMP was originally founded by the Arctic Council in response to the global importance of and increased pressure on Arctic biodiversity and human communities, and our limited capacity to monitor and understand these changes. It aims to harmonize and enhance long-term biodiversity monitoring efforts across the Arctic in order to improve abilities to detect and report on significant trends and pressures. IUCN participants focused on the marine aspect of the Arctic regions and addressed particular challenges facing the coordination of marine resources and policies.
The Workshop challenged Arctic stakeholders to identify program priorities, align goals, and generate a short-term action plan. Workshop facilitator Dr. Elizabeth De Santo, who serves as IUCN’s Marine Protected Areas Coordinator, reported, “it was wonderful to see so much energy and enthusiasm going into building partnerships to protect this fragile ecosystem, one of the last true wildernesses on Earth and such an important indicator of climate change impact.” Included in the program was a panel discussion debating indigenous peoples’ rights, climate change, and the future challenges of sustaining support for Arctic biodiversity protection.
Mike Gill, Head of CBMP, summarized the event’s achievements by saying “with the help of some of our existing partners, we were able to leverage new strategic partnerships in several key areas of the program. The program is very well positioned to deliver on the key products and activities planned over the next five years. We are confident that our vision of expanded and enhanced Arctic biodiversity monitoring and improved conservation and adaptation decisions for the Arctic will be achieved.”
The Workshop was made possible through the general support of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, IUCN, WWF, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and Finland Ministry of Environment. For more information on the CBMP, visit http://www.cbmp.is.