Multilateral Environmental Agreements and their relevance to the Arctic, 21-22 September 2006


Successful meeting in Arendal, Norway, on MEAs and the Arctic

A gathering co-hosted by UNEP-GRID Arendal and the standing committee for Parliamentarians of the Arctic region was held in Arendal, Norway, 21-22 September 2006. Representatives of the CBD, CITES, CMS, Ramsar, Basel Convention, UNEP Regional Seas Programme, UNFCCC, Espoo Convention, Aarhus Convention, Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention on Protection of the Ozone Layer, and the GPA gathered in Arendal with representatives of the Arctic parliamentarians and UNEP, with WWF and representatives of Arctic indigenous peoples, to discuss the role of the Multilateral Environment Agreements in the Arctic and especially ways of increasing our effectiveness.

It was a unique opportunity to gather together so many representatives from conventions, agreements and UN agencies with parliamentarians to show how a more concerted attempt to work together could deliver better results.

The main conclusions focused on working together in a better way, especially at national level. The unique situation of the Arctic with respect to indigenous peoples lends itself to MEAs playing a key role in helping indigenous peoples and the governments covering their lands to work together on solving the immense problems in the Arctic.

The interface between climate change, pollutant loading, and biodiversity conservation and wise management coincides in the Arctic in a way no other region on earth sees, except possibly Antarctica.

The major solutions were seen as promoting better outreach to politicians and the community, promoting dialogue at national level between convention implementers, and using the unique structures of the Arctic region, such as the Arctic Council.

Ramsar was pleased to be there working with our counterparts in the biodiversity cluster and uniquely with the chemicals cluster. This was an important and welcome step in helping to manage one of the most threatened regions on the planet, the Arctic.

-- Peter Bridgewater,
Secretary General

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