Climate change, human activity increase threat of Invasive Alien Species to the Arctic

PRESS RELEASE: May 11, 2017: Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.

A new Arctic Council strategy and action plan calls for action to curb the impending arrival in the Arctic of invasive alien species, a globally significant driver of biodiversity loss, species endangerment, ecosystem degradation and economic change.

“We have a unique opportunity in the Arctic,” says Reidar Hindrum CAFF Chair. “We can act now—decisively—to prevent and mitigate the adverse impacts of invasive alien species that plague much of the rest of the world but haven’t affected the Arctic in the same way—so far. But they are coming. That is why this is such an important strategy.

The Arctic Invasive Alien Species (ARIAS) Strategy and Action Plan, produced by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Working Groups, recommends priority actions that the Arctic Council and its partners are encouraged to take to protect the Arctic region from one of the significant emerging stressors: the adverse impacts of invasive alien species.

The arrival of invasive alien species will impact people who depend upon Arctic ecosystems for their livelihoods and well-being. The report calls for the Arctic Council and partners to inspire urgent and effective action, improve the knowledge base for well-informed decision-making, and to undertake prevention and early detection/rapid response initiatives.

While there are currently few invasive alien species in the Arctic, more are expected with climate change and increased human activity. Rapidly changing environmental conditions and a growing interest in resource extraction, settlement, and tourism make the Arctic region particularly vulnerable to biological invasion.

Contact

Tom Barry, CAFF Executive Secretary: tom [AT] caff [DOT] is +354 861-9824

Soffía Guðmundsdóttir, PAME Executive Secretary: soffia [AT] pame [DOT] is  +354 863 8576


Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)

CAFF is the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council and consists of National Representatives assigned by each of the eight Arctic Council Member States, representatives of Indigenous Peoples' organizations that are Permanent Participants to the Council, and Arctic Council observer countries and organizations. CAFF’s mandate is to address the conservation of Arctic biodiversity, and to communicate its findings to the governments and residents of the Arctic, helping to promote practices which ensure the sustainability of the Arctic’s living resources. For more information: www.caff.is

Arctic Council

The Arctic Council is a high level intergovernmental forum to provide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, with the involvement of the Arctic Indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.  Arctic Council Member States are Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States of America. In addition to the Member States, the Arctic Council has the category of Permanent Participants who include the Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC), Aleut International Association (AIA), Gwich'in Council International (GGI), Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) and the Saami Council (SC). For more information: www.arctic-council.org 

Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME)

PAME is responsible for Arctic Council’s activities related to the protection and sustainable use of the Arctic marine environment. PAME consists of National Representatives assigned by each of the eight Arctic Council Member States, representatives of Indigenous Peoples' organizations that are Permanent Participants to the Council, and Arctic Council observer countries and organizations. PAME’s mandate is to address marine policy measures and non-emergency pollution prevention control measures related to the conservation and sustainable use of the Arctic marine and coastal environment in response to environmental change and from both land and sea-based activities. For more information: www.pame.is


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