Arctic Environment Ministers Recommend Action on Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

8 February 2013: Arctic Environment Ministers met in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, from 5-6 February 2013, to address the rapid environmental changes in the Arctic. They discussed climate change and ocean acidification, contamination in the Arctic, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem based management.

According to the Arctic Council, the most important step forward at the meeting were discussions on the strengthening of joint work on short lived climate pollutants (SLCP), specifically the reduction of black carbon (or soot) in Arctic countries. Ministers called for urgent action to reduce SLCP and encouraged the establishment of a process aiming for an instrument, or other arrangements, to reduce emissions of black carbon from the Arctic States.

On preventing contamination of the Arctic, Ministers welcomed the work of Arctic States to store obsolete pesticides more safely while aiming for their eventual destruction, as well as the establishment of the new funding mechanism, the Project Support Instrument, to facilitate further pollution reduction projects. Ministers further underlined the urgency of cleaning up contamination hot spots within Arctic States.

Discussions on biodiversity and ecosystem management focused on implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and recommended that the Council take a leading, coordinating role in the follow–up of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment and encouraged Arctic States to implement its recommendations.

Ministers urged the Swedish chair to convey the conclusions of the Jukkasjärvi meeting at the Arctic Council meeting in Kiruna, Sweden, on 15 May 2013.

The Arctic Council consists of the eight Arctic States: Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the US. [Arctic Council Press Release] [Bellona Press Release]