GRID Polar Division News

Upcoming seminar on environmental agreements in the Arctic

Preliminary announcement of the "Multilateral Environmental Agreements and their relevance to the Arctic" seminar 21-22 September 2006 in Arendal, Norway
Preliminary announcement of the seminar 21-22 September 2006 in Arendal, Norway

GRID-Arendal is pleased to invite you to participate in the seminar “Multilateral Environmental Agreements and their relevance to the Arctic”. This is a highlevel, lunch-to-lunch seminar that will take place 21-22 September 2006 in Arendal, Norway. The seminar is jointly organised by GRID-Arendal and the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (SCPAR).

The idea for the seminar on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) emerged during a workshop on “Binding legal regime for conservation and sustainable use of the Arctic and its marine environment”, which was held in Oslo in November 2005 and chaired by Ms Hill-Marta Solberg, Chair of SCPAR.

MEAs are internationally agreed-upon measures to protect the environment and/or to promote sustainable development, and require the engagement of stakeholders at all levels to make them truly effective. Environmental changes are now taking place rapidly in the Arctic, changing and threatening flora and fauna, and the livelihoods of peoples living there. Furthermore, the deterioration of Arctic ecosystems is introducing serious threats to the global environment such as sea level rise, impact on ocean circulation, and reduction of breeding areas for migrating birds. Although there are several global and regional MEAs relevant to the Arctic, none include an exclusive Arctic scope.

The main objective of the seminar is to identify opportunities for using the global MEAs as policy tools to strengthen environment management and support sustainable development in the Arctic region.

Participants will represent Secretariats of the major MEAs and key Arctic stakeholders (parliamentarians, government officials, indigenous peoples’ organisations, private sector, research institutions, and environmental NGOs).

Results from the seminar will be an important input to the policy discussion initiated by the SCPAR on Arctic governance and the possibilities and limitations of a binding legal regime for the Arctic. The meeting will also be a venue for identifying synergies and co-operation between MEAs and relevant stakeholders like the Arctic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

A seminar report will be prepared, outlining recommendations on how each of the MEAs can support the future management of the Arctic.

Details of the seminar, including a final agenda, will be sent out to participants in June. Participants are requested to cover the costs of their participation. The Mayor of Arendal will host a dinner in the evening of the 21st, and there will also be a social programme.

If you are interested in participating or wish to receive more information about the seminar, please contact Kathrine Johnsen (, mobile phone: +47 41234581). Copies of the draft report “Multilateral Environmental Agreements and their relevance to the Arctic” prepared by GRID-Arendal are available on request. Comments and proposed contributions to the seminar are also welcome.

Svein Tveitdal
Special advisor to the Executive Director

Steinar Sørensen
Managing Director
Wednesday 26 Apr 2006