The Arctic Council's Senior Arctic Officials (SAOs) are meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada(2-5 March 2015). The attendants to the last meeting prior to the Iqualuit' Ministerial(when the chairmanship of the Arctic Council will be handed over to U.S.) are reviewing progress on the work of the Arctic Council under the Canadian Chairmanship and assessing the deliverables to be presented at the Ministerial meeting.
During the first day of the meeting, the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) has endorsed a new project, EALLU Arctic Indigenous Youth: Traditional Knowledge and Food Culture – Navigation Towards Sustainability through New Approaches for Addressing Arctic Climate Change and Globalisation (short: EALLU Arctic Indigenous Youth, Climate Change and Food Culture). The project will be co-leaded by MSc Anders Oskal, Executive Director of the Int'l Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) and the Arctic Indigenous Peoples Culinary Institute.The project, co-leaded by Norway, Russian Federation and the Saami Council, will involve a wide cooperation of countries and Permanent Particpants' associations.
According to the Arctic Council's website, the other issues to be addressed during the meeting include:
- A case study from the Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP) of an initiative in the Russian Arctic to reduce black carbon emissions from diesel sources;
- Two policy-makers' summaries presenting the findings of new assessments by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) of short-lived climate pollutants (methane, black carbon and ozone) and human health, persistent organic pollutant trends, and radioactivity in the Arctic;
- The Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG)'s efforts to: develop recommendations to strengthen the use of traditional and local knowledge in the work of the Council; create an online climate change adaptation portal; submit a report on "Circumpolar Reflections on Sea Ice Use and Shipping in Inuit Nunaat"; maintain and further develop sustainable reindeer husbandry in the Arctic; and assess cancer trends among Arctic indigenous peoples and communities;
- The Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) group's work to: update the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan, which will provide policy priorities for marine-related issues of the Arctic Council for the next ten years; develop a pan-Arctic framework for marine protected areas; and develop best practices guidelines for Arctic marine tourism;
- The Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) working group's Guide on Oil Spill Response in Ice and Snow. EPPR will also report on the radiation exercise "Arctic-2014", which took place in the Murmansk region in June of 2014;
- The efforts of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) group to develop an action plan to implement the recommendations from the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment, a work plan for the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative, and present progress on the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program;
- A compilation highlighting best practices for the promotion of traditional ways of life in the Arctic
- Updates from the Council's task forces on priority initiatives to address black carbon and methane, develop an action plan on Arctic marine oil pollution prevention, and enhance scientific cooperation.