With warming in the Arctic increasing at twice the global average since 1980, the region is experiencing a profound and rapid transformation that will have severe impacts both regionally and globally.
UN Environment is working with the Arctic nations to protect the region's environment and natural resources within the framework of the Arctic Council, a high level intergovernmental forum that addresses environmental protection and sustainable development issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people living in the region.
Over the years, UN Environment has worked actively within the Council’s working groups to promote Arctic environmental protection. Currently, through the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI) within the Council's Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group, UN Environment is securing the long-term sustainability of the declining Arctic breeding migratory bird populations and enhancing cooperation between Arctic and non-Arctic countries that host these birds during the non-breeding season. UN Environment is also participating in the development of the Council's Climate and Clean Air Coalition scoping study for the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for the Arctic.
Other key items on the Council’s agenda in which UN Environment is also engaged include: Arctic biodiversity; climate change; ocean pollution which includes the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan to address marine oil pollution, prevention and response; protection of indigenous people; and the development of an international agreement on Arctic scientific cooperation.