Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy

Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy

The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) (sometimes referred to as the Finnish Initiative) is a multilateral, non-binding agreementcite web |url= |title=The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy & the New Arctic Council |accessdate=2008-09-23 |last=Russell |first=Bruce A. |coauthors= |date= |work= |publisher=] among Arctic states aimed at Arctic environment protection. Discussions began in 1989, with the AEPS adopted in June 1991 by Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the USSR, and the United States. The AEPS deals with monitoring, assessment, protection, emergency preparedness/response, and conservation of the Arctic zone.cite web |url= |title=The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy |accessdate=2008-09-23
] It has been called a major political accomplishment of the post-Cold War-era. [cite book |title=The Oceans and Environmental Security: Shared Us and Russian Perspectives |last=Broadus |first=J.M. |coauthors=Vartanov, R.V., Marine Policy Center (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), & Institut mirovoĭ ėkonomiki i mezhdunarodnykh otnosheniĭ (Rossiĭskai︠a︡ akademii︠a︡ nauk) |year=1994 |publisher=Island Press |location=Washington, D.C. |isbn=1559632356 |url=,M1 |pages=p. 176]


In January 1989, Finland sent a letter to the other Arctic states proposing a conference on protection of the Arctic environment. [Rothwell, p. 231] The Rovaniemi Meeting of September 1989 established two working groups. This was followed by the second consultative meeting in Yellowknife, Canada in April 1990 where a third "ad hoc" group was established to develop the strategy. It also resulted in the preparation of a draft document. Kiruna, Sweden was the site of the third meeting, held in January 1991, where one group worked on the drafting the AEPS while another dealt with specific environmental issues.


Government officials from all the Arctic nations convened in Rovaniemi in June 1991 for the last consultative meeting. The first three days included meetings, followed by a ministerial-level meeting on 13-14 June observed by representatives from Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations.

Three indigenous peoples' organizations observed, participated, and became Permanent Participants: the SAAMI Council, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and the Association of Indigenous Minorities of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation. They considered the Rovaniemi ministerial meeting to be "historic" as it represented the first time that Arctic indigenous peoples participated in an international declaration's preparation process. [cite journal |journal=Northern Notes |volume=IV |pages=21–32 |url= |title=CONTRIBUTING TO THE AEPS: INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE |accessdate=2008-09-23 |last=Tennberg |first=Monica |date=December, 1996 |work= |]

On 14 June 1991, the AEPS and the Declaration on the Protection of the Arctic Environment ("Rovaniemi Declaration") were formally adopted. [cite book |title=The Polar Regions and the Development of International Law |last=Rothwell |first=Donald |year=1996 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location=Cambridge |isbn=0521561825 |url=,M1 |pages=231–233] The main objectives were listed as,

"Preserving environmental quality and natural resources, accommodating environmental protection principals with the needs and traditions of Arctic Native peoples, monitoring environmental conditions, and reducing and eventually eliminating pollution in the Arctic Environment."cite book |title=Nuclear Wastes in the Arctic: An Analysis of Arctic and Other Regional Impacts from Soviet Nuclear Contamination. |last=Office of Technology Assessment Washington DC |year=1995 |publisher=Defense Technical Information Center SEP |location=Ft. Belvoir |oclc=227865174 |isbn= |url= |pages=196]


The AEPS outlined five objectives and six pollution issues. [Rothwell, p. 234] Legal issues included its jurisdictional reach and extent of obligations for the member states. [Rothwell, p. 238] Data-gathering, information compilation, and assessment tasks were organized around these issues.cite book |title=Protecting the Polar Marine Environment: Law and Policy for Pollution Prevention |last=Vidas |first=Davor Vidas |year=2000 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location=Cambridge |isbn=0521663113 |url= |pages=p. 84]

In their 1993 follow-up meeting in Nuuk, Greenland, ministers endorsed expanding the AEPS in order to deal with sustainable development, and issued the Nuuk Declaration. [cite web |url= |title=The Nuuk Declaration |accessdate=2008-09-23 |last= Ministers of the Arctic Countries |first= |coauthors= |date= 1993-09-16 |work= |] Another meeting occurred in 1996 in Inuvik, Canada, resulting in the Inuvik Declaration, [cite web |url= |title=Inuvik Declaration |accessdate=2008-09-23 |last=Ministers of the Arctic Countries 1996-03-21 |work= |] and the establishment of the Arctic Council. [cite web |url= |title=Chapter 3: Policy Responses and Directions |accessdate=2008-09-23 |last=Global Environment Outlook-1 |date=1997 |work=United Nations Environment Programme, Global State of the Environment Report |] The last meeting, held in 1997 in Alta, Norway following the AEPS's 1996 absorption into the Arctic Council resulted in the Alta Declaration. [cite web |url= |title=The Alta Declaration |accessdate=2008-09-23 |last=Ministers of the Arctic countries |date=1997-06-13 |work= |]

The AEPS remains a strategy for the Council's working groups, [cite book |title=Arctic Legal Regime for Environmental Protection |last=Nowlan |first=Linda |year=2001 |publisher=IUCN, The World Conservation Union |location=Gland, Switzerland |isbn=2831706378 |url= |pages=5] including:
* Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP)
* Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)
* Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME)
* Emergency, Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR)
* Sustainable Development and Utilization (SDU)


Critics of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy suggest that it:
#Lacks ongoing political attention and direction, along with financial commitment.
#Lacks the legal authority of a treaty. [cite news |first=Pfirman |last=S.L. |coauthors=Hajost, S.A., & Crane, K. |title=We Have to Protect No-Longer-Pristine Arctic |url= |work= |publisher="The New York Times" |date=1992-12-29 |accessdate=2008-09-23]
#Involves studies and talks but lacks concrete action. [cite book |title=The Law of the Sea and Polar Maritime Delimitation and Jurisdiction |last=Elferink |first=A.G.O. |authorlink= |coauthors=Rothwell, D., VanderZwagg, D., Huebert, R., & Ferrara, S. |year=2001 |publisher=Martinus Nijhoff Publishers |location=The Hague |isbn=9041116486 |url=,M1 |pages=Chapter 12, p. 226]
#Doesn't address specific problems, for example, Arctic haze. [cite book |title=Polar Politics: Creating International Environmental Regimes |last=Young |first=O.R. |coauthors=Osherenko, G. |year=1993 |publisher=Cornell University Press |location=Ithaca |isbn=0801480698 |url=,M1 |pages=p. 187]


External links

* [ Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, 1991]
* Declarations:
** [ Rovaniemi Declaration, 1991]
** [ Nuuk Declaration, 1993]
*** [ Nuuk Meeting Report]
** [ Inuvik Declaration, 1996]
** [ Alta Declaration, 1997]
** [ AMAP]
** [ CAFF]
** [ EPPR]
** [ PAME]

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