Environment and climate


 

Monitoring mercury (Hg) in the border area of Norway, Finland, Russia

Applicant: The County Governor of Finnmark
Countries: Norway, Finland, Russia
Project start 2015, expected to be finalized in 2017.
 

Mercury (Hg) continues to present risks to Arctic wildlife and human populations. Mercury is also one of the prioritized substances under the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and it is included on Norway's priority list of hazardous substances. It is of particular concern that mercury levels are continuing to rise in parts of the Arctic biota, despite reductions in anthropogenic emissions (AMAP 2011).

The main objective of the project is to harmonize methods of monitoring mercury in the border region, in order to compare results, assessments and establish further and common recommendations for the environmental authorities in this region. An important task will therefore be to design an adaptive monitoring program that include monitoring of different freshwater fish that are utilized for human consumption and lake sediments for monitoring of long term trends.


Arctic Marine Protected and Important Areas: Phase 1: harmonisation and integration of information

Applicant: CAFF/PAME Secretariats
Countries: Iceland, Greenland, Finland, Norway, Sweden
Project start 2015, expected to be finalized in 2017.

The Arctic Council has recognised that the Arctic environment needs to be protected as a basis for sustainable development, prosperity, lifestyles and human well. An important step towards achieving this is to advance the protection of large areas of ecologically important Arctic marine habitats, building upon existing and on-going national and international processes and implementing appropriate measures for their management. This current proposal responds by presenting a means to increase knowledge, understanding and facilitate protection of important areas in the Arctic's marine ecosystem. It will provide harmonised and up-to-date information on the Arctic's marine protected & important areas; identify gaps and priorities in the Arctic's protected areas network; present science-based suggestions for next steps; and inform and guide policy and decision making.


Arctic Marine Protected and Important Areas: Phase 2: Conducting a gap analysis and making use of new information and analytical tools

Applicant: CAFF/PAME Secretariats
Countries: Iceland, Greenland, Finland, Norway, Sweden
Project start 2015, expected to be finalized in 2017.

The Arctic Council has recognized that the Arctic environment needs to be protected as a basis for sustainable development, prosperity, lifestyles and human well-being (Kiruna Declaration 2013 and Iqaluit Declaration 2015). An important step towards achieving this is to advance the conservation and protection of ecosystem function and marine biodiversity, building upon existing and on-going domestic and international processes, promoting the implementation of the implementation of the ecosystem approach to management, and implementing appropriate measures for their conservation (ABA 2013, AOR 2013 and AMSP 2015). These approaches have been endorsed by the Arctic Council Ministers subsequently the Arctic Council for the 2015-17 identified Marine Protected areas as a priority issue. This proposal responds by presenting a means to increase knowledge, understanding and facilitate protection of important areas in the Arctic’s marine ecosystem. It will provide harmonized and up-to-date information on the Arctic’s marine protected & important areas; identify gaps and priorities in the Arctic’s protected areas network; present science-based suggestions for next steps; and inform and guide policy and decision making.


Waste water treatment in Nordic Arctic Areas; Northern Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland - is it sufficient?

Applicant: Environment Agency, Faroe Islands
Countries: Faroe Islands, Norway, Iceland, Greenland
Project start 2013, expected to be finalized in 2015.

The discharge of waste water from the areas of the Nordic Arctic has not been regarded as a big issue as the recipient has been large, an approach which is reflected in EU regulation in terms like "Less sensitive areas". However, as the populations grow and the nature of the waste water changes the assumption that the recipient may be regarded as unaffected or affected to a limited degree may be wrong. The project brings together representatives from those responsible for waste water treatment in the northern part of Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. This group will function as a forum for knowhow exchange and it will steer the project with assistance from people with expertise in environmental pollution issues. The project aims at describing to what extent the present level of waste water treatment is sufficient in order to protect the marine environment. This will be elucidated by performing analyses of samples from the recipients at various distances from the discharge points and at various seasons


Seabird harvest in the North Atlantic

Applicant: Grønlands naturinstitut
Countries: Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands
Project start 2014, expected to be finalized in 2016.

The project wants to highlight and raise awareness of the importance of sea birds and sea birds catch in the North. Several seabird populations in the Nordic region have undergone significant declines due to changing climatic conditions and/or through a non-sustainable use. One consequence of this is that the traditional and culturally important seabird catch today is strongly threatened. The project wants to convey the unique Nordic way of life in the peripheral zones, the conflict between population declines and exploitation of sea birds, and the important position seabird catch still holds in the Nordic region. The project involves expertise from Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands and its primary output is a book, secondarily a traveling exhibition and a website. The project will thus contribute to the branding of Nordic and Scandinavian way of life, where the unique use of natural resources plays a crucial role.


Needs for restoration of Water bodies in the Barents region

Applicant: Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Lapland
Countries: Finland, Norway, Russia
Project start 2015, expected to be finalized in 2017.

This project aims to investigate the needs for restoration of water bodies in different regions of the Barents area. Water bodies which have lost their natural state due to human impact and can be improved through carefully planned restoration. The main issue concerning the state of aquatic environments varies throughout the Barents region and the practices of restoration differ. This project also aims to share information and achieve synergy by having both the more- and less- experienced regions work together in evaluating the needs and means of restoration. This promotes the Barents area co-operation in a concrete way. During the first year of implementation the objective is to investigate sites which would benefit from interregional and international expert help in planning and implementing restoration. Also the means of implementation, possibilities and limits is investigated.


State of the Arctic Freshwater biodiversity report

Applicant: Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Secretariat
Countries: Iceland, Greenland/Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Norway, Sweden
Project start 2015, expected to be finalized in 2017.

The CBMP-Freshwater Plan was endorsed by the CAFF board in 2012, and represents an agreement among the Arctic nations on the approach which should be taken to monitor and assess freshwater biodiversity across the pan-Arctic region. By establishing common approaches for monitoring and assessment, the plan is intended to improve our ability to detect changes to biodiversity and evaluate stressor impacts on a circumpolar scale, thus facilitating more effective management of these systems. The first status and trends assessment of Arctic freshwater biodiversity (planned for completion in 2017) will evaluate existing data and identify gaps in monitoring efforts and scientific knowledge of Arctic freshwaters. This first status and trends assessment will also provide recommendations and guidance for more effective, coordinated future monitoring activities.


Reconstructing stock size of Norwegian spring spawning herring and blue whiting during the 19th –20th century (HERCENT)

Applicant: Havstovan (Faroe Marine Research Institute)
Countries: Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway
Project start 2014, expected to be finalized in 2016.

In this project the population size of NVG herring and blue whiting is estimated back to the 18th and 19th centuries from pilot whale catches, seabird data and growth chronologies of Arctica islandica. The project results will improve the management of these stocks significant and benefit and increase knowledge of the interplay between pelagic fish species in the North-east Atlantic Ocean and their response to climate and climate change.


Facilitating use of Nordic plant genetic resources: Evaluating the Nordic Red Clover Collection for Arctic breeding

Applicant: The Nordic Genetic Resource Centre (NordGen)
Countries: Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland
Project start 2014, expected to be finalized in 2016.

The main aim of this project is to increase the use of plant genetic resources by directly channelling information and seed material to plant breeders working in the Northern/Arctic region. This is done by evaluating landraces and wild material in the Nordic collection of red clover. The focus is on agricultural traits that are important for Nordic breeders in their work to produce new well adapted varieties for the Northern/Arctic regions' current and future climate. The project will result in: (1) identification and distribution of material for future pre-breeding and breeding projects aiming to adapt red clover to northern climate and future climate change, (2) cooperation among the main companies/organisations working on pre-breeding for the Northern part of the Nordic region, and (3) facilitate the long term use of the Nordic red clover collection by substantially increasing the publically available knowledge on agricultural traits.


Infectious Zoonotic Diseases Transmissible from harvested Wildlife to humans in the European Arctic (ZORRO)

Applicant: Aarhus University, Department of Bioscience
Countries: Denmark, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden
Project start 2015, expected to be finalized in 2017.

Documented contaminant related effect on the immune system and altered dispersal of animals due to climate change has an obvious linkage to zoonotic diseases that may have a fatal outcome for both wildlife and humans. Zoonotic diseases are pathogens transferred up the food chain from various hosts ending up in humans. This means that wildlife top predators may achieve zoonosis that can be transferred over the last links in the food chain to humans.

The objective of ZORRO is therefore to fill-in the knowledge gaps by screening marine (and partly terrestrial) mammals, their sources and pathways that eventually will become at threat local people and hunters in East Greenland, the Faroese Islands, Northern Norway and Sweden for zoonotic diseases. This will facilitate the pinpoint of the most important zoonotic diseases and their potential linkage to contaminants and climate changes.


Marine Resource Governance in the Arctic

Applicant: Department of Environmental and Business Economics University of Southern Denmark
Countries: Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Faroe Islands
Project start 2013, expected to be finalized in 2015.

This project aims to promote sustainability of the marine resources and the environments that support them by understanding the interacting effects of human behaviour, including local, regional and international governance incentives and decisions, and ecological change on Arctic marine resources.

The project is directly related to what is stated in the programme document: "knowledge and information about what can be done at a local and regional level to preserve and protect the environment, nature and the seas in the Arctic region"


Our Nature, Our Food, Our Future – a project on food as bearer of culture and identity in the Arctic

Applicant: Inuit Sila
Countries: Denmark, Åland, Greenland, Canada
Project start and expected to be finalized in 2016.

Through a three-legged approach under the theme ‘Our Nature, Our Food, Our Future’, the project aims to highlight food as both shaper of identity, as well as bearer of culture within the Nordic and Arctic regions. Focusing on developing seal as a part of the Northern cuisine, proposing an Arctic food revolution and engaging young people from minority areas in the region, the project seeks to establish a pride in the Northern identity, ensure access to traditional food and build cultural and social capital among the people of the Arctic territories.

 


Cooperation in the Area of Climate Change Mitigation in the Barents Region

Applicant: Uinsstyrelse Norrbotten I Norrbotten County Administration, Sweden
Countries: Finland, Russia
Project start and expected to be finalized in 2016.

 The main objective of the project is to determine the overall potential, opportunities and the main areas for Climate Change Mitigation in the Barents Region. The proposed project follows the Climate Change Action Plan for the Barents cooperation which was adopted at the 11th Meeting of the Environment Ministers of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) in December 2013.