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UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner speaks to Arctic Environmental Ministers in Kiruna Mine, Sweden
Arctic environment ministers met in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, 5-6 February, for a meeting focused on actions to address the rapid environmental changes in the Arctic. Some of the main themes were climate change and ocean acidification, preventing contamination in the Arctic, biodiversity, and ecosystem based management. Arctic Council assessments and projects were used as starting points for many of the discussions.
Rapid changes are taking place in the Arctic due to climate change and increased global resource use. The 2012 record low Arctic sea ice extent and great melting of the Greenland ice sheet were clear signals of the drastic on-going changes.
"Global effects of rapid Arctic change mean that environmental protection in the Arctic is an issue of global concern. This meeting is the first one involving such a broad group of environment ministers, committed to stepping up action to protect the Arctic environment" says Lena Ek, Swedish minister for the environment and chair of the meeting.