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The purpose of the ABA is to:
Synthesize and assess the status and trends of biological diversity in the Arctic.
It will provide a much needed description of the current state of the Arctic’s ecosystems and biodiversity, create a baseline for use in global and regional assessments of Arctic biodiversity and a basis to inform and guide future Arctic Council work. It will provide up to date scientific and traditional ecological knowledge, identify gaps in the data record, identify key mechanisms driving change and produce recommendations.

Arctic warming, with its many and increasing impacts on flora, fauna, and habitats, has heightened the need to identify and fill the knowledge gaps on various aspects of Arctic biodiversity and monitoring. This need was clearly identified in the 2005 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) which recommended that long term Arctic biodiversity monitoring be expanded and enhanced [1]. The CAFF Working Group responded to this recommendation with the implementation of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program.  Following the establishment of the CBMP, the CAFF Working Group agreed that it was necessary to provide policy makers and conservation managers with a synthesis of the best available scientific and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)1 on Arctic biodiversity. This initiative, the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA), was endorsed by the Arctic Council in 2006.

The aim of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) is to provide a much needed description of thecurrent state of the Arctic’s ecosystems and biodiversity,create a baseline for use in global and regional assessments of biodiversity, and provide a basis to inform and guidefuture Arctic Council work. In addition, it will provideup-to-date scientific and traditional ecological knowledge,identify gaps in the data record, identify key mechanisms driving change, and produce policy recommendationsregarding Arctic biodiversity. The first deliverable of theABA is the overview report, Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010:Selected Indicators of Change which presents a preliminaryassessment of status and trends in Arctic biodiversityand is based on the suite of indicators developed by the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme.  

The ABA is led by Finland, Greenland, Sweden and the United States. Greenland/Denmark is the current Chair of the ABA Steering Committee. The Chair rotates and next in line to take the Chair will be Finland in 2011. Members include Greenland/Denmark, Canada, Sweden, UNEP GRID Arendal and UNEP WCMC, the Gwich´in Council International, the Arctic Athabaskan Council and the CAFF Secretariat. Its Chief Scientist is provided by Greenland/Denmark.

Acknowledgement of funding and support.

Financial support has been provided to this project from Canada, Finland, Sweden, the Nordic Council of Ministers and UNEP/GRID-Arendal.  All the CAFF countries and Permanent Participants to the Arctic Council for their support and contributions to the successful development of the Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010:Selected Indicators of Change report. 

Steering committee members

  • Tom Barry, CAFF Secretariat, Akureyri, Iceland
  • Cindy Dickson, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
  • Janet Hohn, United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska, USA
  • Esko Jaakkola, Finnish Ministry of the Environment, Helsinki,Finland
  • Tiina Kurvits, UNEP/GRID-Arendal, Ottawa, Canada
  • Bridgette Larocque, Gwich’in Council International, Inuvik,Northwest Territories, Canada
  • Mark Marissink, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency,Stockholm, Sweden
  • Aevar Petersen (CAFF Chair), Icelandic Institute of NaturalHistory, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Risa Smith, Environment Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia,Canada
  • Inge Thaulow, The Ministry of Domestic Affairs, Nature and Environment, Government of Greenland, Greenland
  • Christoph Zockler, UNEP/WCMC, Cambridge, UK

Lead countries

  • Finland, Greenland, Sweden and United States.