Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) is a working group of the Arctic Council that deals with issues relating to biodiversity in the circumpolar Arctic. The CAFF board meets twice a year to discuss the management of the CAFF and ongoing and future projects of the working group. I was lucky enough to be in town for this event and to participate in the discussion.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of items that were discussed that caught my attention:
The Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA): this is a very important product of the CAFF. It is an exhaustive document summarizing the state of Arctic biodiversity, trends in abundance, and current and future risks. It also provides a series of recommendation for policy-makers. The full document along with a summary for policy-makers can be found here: http://www.arcticbiodiversity.is/
Arctic tourism: The Sustainable Tourism Initiative which deals mainly with the potential impact of cruise ship operations was discussed.
Traditional knowledge: The challenges regarding the inclusion of traditional ecological knowledge into the ABA were discussed. It was agreed that a kind of 'lessons learned' document would be a useful output of the process.
Ecosystem services: One of the cool things with CAFF is that it allows its 'observer' members (i.e. non-voting members of the group) to participate and provide input into CAFF's work. The World Wildlife Fund was therefore present at the meeting to discuss a project they are leading on ecosystem services.
Migratory birds: Birds migrate over large distances and across many international boundaries, and international groups like CAFF are therefore the perfect venue to coordinate such conservation efforts. For info on one of the projects CAFF is involved with, go to: www.eaaflyway.net
Potential for APECS involvement:
Recommendation analysis: One of the most important end results of the ABA is a series of 17 recommendations to policy-makers. APECS was asked to participate in a process of analysis of these recommendations to promote their implementation.
The ABA Symposium: In order to promote and implement the recommendations of the ABA, a symposium will be held to bring together scientists, policy-makers, and private industry. While the exact time and date is yet to be determined, APECS involvement in such an event would be important.