Arctic sea ice cover has declined dramatically in recent decades. The receding ice brings both opportunities and new dangers. Industries like shipping, oil and gas production, mining, fishing and tourism have an impact on the fragile polar marine environment and the lives of the people who live there. There is an urgent need to develop and introduce effective conservation measures and sustainable management concepts in order to ensure the sustainable and ecologically sound use of marine habitats in the Arctic.
Efforts are currently being made to put an embargo on economic activities in some parts of the Arctic by designating them marine protected areas. But given the increased economic activity in the region, action to conserve and ensure the sustainable use of Arctic resources is proceeding too slowly. Scientific knowledge is often not translated effectively into concrete, cross-sectoral and regionally coordinated conservation measures.
Strategies to implement ecologically sound Arctic policies
In this research project, which is conducted as a cooperation of the research groups "Arctic Governance" and "Ocean Governance", the project partners carry out targeted case studies and analyses, which are then communicated to decision-makers in different formats and integrated into relevant policy discussions and communications channels. The case studies investigate the ecological, economic, and social effects of using Arctic resources and pinpoint gaps in the respective governance frameworks. The project will also develop recommendations for a potential pan-Arctic network of marine protected areas. The research builds on relevant research projects as well as the longstanding work of the project partners - the IASS, the Ecologic Institute, and WWF Germany - in Arctic research and policy.
Pathways to a sustainable Arctic future
The project's analyses and recommendations will support Germany's active engagement in the conservation-relevant working groups of the Arctic Council and thus directly contribute to the introduction and implementation of measures to conserve marine habitats and species. The project results will also feed into discussions among German Arctic experts, for example in the context of the national Arctic Dialogue.