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Uploaded on Wednesday 09 Oct 2013
Boundaries of the Arctic Council Working Groups
When defining Arctic regions, it is understood that no single, clear cut boundary exists to delineate their extent. Rather, this boundary will change with its application: environmental, biological, economic, jurisdictional, or social. For example the Arctic Council working groups have different definitions that reflect each of their interests.
The Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program (AMAP), which predates the Arctic Council, created its ‘AMAP area’ as the territory where it would carry out environmental monitoring under the Environmental Protection Strategy. AMAP has defined a regional extent based on a compromise among various definitions. The ‘AMAP area’ essentially includes the terrestrial and marine areas north of the Arctic Circle (66°32’N), and north of 62°N in Asia and 60°N in North America, modified to include the marine areas north of the Aleutian chain, Hudson Bay, and parts of the North Atlantic Ocean including the Labrador Sea, excluding the Baltic Sea. (University of the Arctic, http://www.uarctic.org/atlasmaplayer.aspx?m=642&amid=5955).
Other Arctic Council working groups such as Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and Emergency, Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR), and the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) developed their own boundaries or adapted the AMAP boundary. The CAFF boundary largely follows the treeline in order to include the ecosystems that are the focus of its activities. Similarly, the Arctic Human Development Report needed to be based largely on northern political units, as that is how the majority of socio-economic data and information on northern societies is organized.
The following map presents the Arctic region boundaries as defined by the various Arctic Working groups noted above (UArctic Atlas: Arctic Boundaries).