February 05, 2013 08:00 ET

Environment Ministers Must Reach Across Boundaries to Protect Arctic

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 5, 2013) - Arctic Environment ministers meeting in Sweden today should seize the chance to commit to working on conservation beyond national boundaries, says conservation organization WWF.

"When the ministers met two years ago in Greenland, they had some good discussions," says Alexander Shestakov, Director of WWF's Global Arctic Programme. "Today, they need to get beyond talk, and commit to projects that show how they'll cooperate in managing ecosystems that span national boundaries."

This "ecosystem-based management" (EBM) is key to effectively managing Arctic wildlife, especially as both wildlife and Arctic peoples cope with escalating climate change impacts. Countries cannot ignore the fact that resources such as fish stocks and species like polar bears and narwhals span national boundaries. They have to be considered in the context of international systems, not purely national concerns. The Arctic Council has an expert group studying EBM and its place in Arctic management. The ministers could take this work further, and commit to implementing EBM in pilot projects.

WWF is also urging the ministers to take action on reducing pollution linked to climate change in the Arctic. The so-called short lived climate forcers include soot and gases from industry, such as flaring natural gas. In its advice to the ministers, WWF suggest a series of steps leading to a full Arctic agreement on reducing these pollutants.

WWF's full statement to the Ministers' meeting can be found here: http://www.government.se/content/1/c6/20/76/94/fbca7ea0.pdf.

About WWF

WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with almost five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

Contact Information