Through the ever-growing body of assessments produced by its six Working Groups, the Arctic Council serves as knowledge broker and global advocate for Arctic topics. The Working Groups’ assessments have been instrumental in bringing Arctic issues to a global arena through policy recommendations and international cooperation.

The first comprehensive account of Arctic change

The 2005 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) was a landmark assessment for the Arctic. Some 300 scientists, experts, and representatives for Indigenous Peoples collaborated to develop a comprehensive, multidisciplinary account of climate change in the Arctic. The result is probably one of the most widely read documents focused specifically on the Arctic, and one of the world’s first in-depth regional accounts of climate change impacts. The report was produced by AMAP, CAFF and IASC.

Contributions to international frameworks

AMAP has assessed and monitored the effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) for more than two decades. POPs are chemicals of global concern. They can travel over long distances, are persistent in the environment, and are able to accumulate in ecosystems, leading to negative effects on human health and the environment. AMAP’s 2002 assessment report on POPs contributed to the negotiations that eventually led to the Stockholm Convention on POPs.

CAFF's assessments have contributed to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, The African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), and the The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) among others, and has led to decisions from these conventions focused on Arctic biodiversity and requests for reporting from the Arctic Council.

Towards the Polar Code

The Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, published in 2009 by the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME), presented recommendations on safe shipping in Arctic waters. These recommendations played a key role in moving towards mandatory rules and regulations for ships operating in polar waters. The result is the Polar Code by the International Maritime Organization.

Featured Projects

Photo: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS

Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP)

An international network of scientists, governments, Indigenous organizations and conservation groups working to harmonize and integrate efforts to monitor the Arctic's living resources.

Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) of the Central Arctic Ocean

Investigating the current state of the Central Arctic Ocean

Underwater noise in the Arctic

Providing a baseline understanding of underwater noise in Arctic regions, including ambient sound levels, underwater noise created by anthropogenic activities, and impacts of underwater noise on marin...
Permafrost erosion in Alaska. Photo: USGS / M. Torre Jorgenson

Climate Issues: Cryosphere, meteorology, ecosystem impacts

Developing work on thresholds and extremes, Arctic/mid-latitude weather connections and performance of global models in the Arctic, with contributions from the meteorology community; and evaluating th...
Garbage incinerator in Greenland. Photo: iStock / olli0815

Community-based black carbon and public health assessment

Assessing and mitigating the risks of black carbon to public health.
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Ecosystem Status, Human Impact and Management Measures in the Central Arctic Ocean

Synthesizing relevant information on the status, trends and projected changes in the Central Arctic Ocean, human activities and pressures in the area, and the current management measures in place in o...
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Management of Arctic Marine Oil and Gas Associated Noise

The continuation of Arctic marine oil and gas activities requires a better understanding of the sources of noise and the effects and potential effects of noise on marine mammals and fish.
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Marine Invasive Alien Species in Arctic Waters

Protecting the Arctic from the adverse impacts of invasive alien species
Boat in ice. Photo: iStock

Arctic Marine Risk Assessment

A common approach to marine risk assessment in the Arctic region.
Photo: iStock / RyersonClark

One Arctic, One Health

A theoretical concept and practical approach for developing and sustaining broad interdisciplinary collaboration – to identify, prevent, and mitigate health risks in humans, animals and the environmen...
Ship in the Arctic. Photo: iStock / Alexey_Seafarer

Arctic Marine Tourism: Development in the Arctic and enabling real change

Analyzing and promoting sustainable tourism across the circumpolar Arctic.

Arctic assessment news

Sneak peek into the new work of the Arctic Council – A briefing series

Be one of the first to learn about the latest reports, assessments and activities from the Council’s Working Groups on the topics of climate change, Arctic shipping, huma...
06 May 2021

Finding the nexus between water, energy and food in the Arctic

The Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council will launch the first water, energy and food nexus study in the Arctic. The project will identify intercon...
03 Dec 2020
Historic construction for coal transport, Longyearbyen, Svalbard

“The global demand is a very strong driver affecting the Arctic economy”

An interview with co-editor Iulie Aslaksen about the upcoming “Economy of the North 2020” report (ECONOR IV report)
16 Jun 2020
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