GRID Polar Division News

Workshop: Building Ecosystem Resilience in the Barents Sea Region

WWF and GRID-Arendal workshop on conservation and vulnerability in the NW Russia and Northern Norway regions, March 22-24 2006 in Murmansk, Russia

The WWF International Arctic Programme and UNEP GRID-Arendal, with the financial support of the Norwegian ACIA Follow-up Programme, invite you to participate in a 3-day international workshop Building Ecosystem Resilience in the Barents Sea Region.

The workshop will be held from the 22nd to 24th of March 2006 in Murmansk, Russia.

The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), released in November 2004, documented that the Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the Earth. It detailed how the impacts of arctic climate change will affect the rest of the planet, outlined the profound changes expected to occur in arctic vegetation, wildlife and human societies, and devoted a chapter to the concepts of vulnerability and resilience.

A resilient ecosystem is one that can withstand “shocks” and still maintain its essential functions.

While there has been considerable academic discussion of the terms “resilience” and “vulnerability”, few practical examples exist of what can be done to improve an ecosystem’s ability to withstand the stress of climate change in combination with industrial development and other factors.

Due to the scale of the expected impacts, there is a need to incorporate climate change into all aspects of conservation planning.

The Barents Sea is one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world and among the most biologically diverse in the Arctic. WWF has identified the Barents Sea region as a priority for biodiversity conservation, and climate change as a major issue in the conservation strategy for the region.

The organization is currently compiling proposals for field-based projects in the Barents region addressing practical approaches to building ecosystem resilience to climate change.

Based on this background, WWF and UNEP GRID-Arendal have chosen Murmansk as the venue for an international workshop with the following main goals:

  1. To share conceptual and practical approaches for building ecosystem resilience to climate change, in an arctic context.
  2. To identify needs, challenges, and opportunities for improving resilience of the ecosystems in the Barents region
Anticipated outcomes include:
  1. A compilation of information and experiences that can be used to develop management strategies and practical field applications to enhance resilience in arctic ecosystems, particularly in the Barents Sea region
  2. A review and critique of one or more project proposals for resilience-building field projects in the Barents Sea region, to be supported by WWF
  3. Recommendations for the joint Russian-Norwegian commission on environmental cooperation, as well as for the Norwegian Barents Sea Management Plan
  4. Recommendations for specific follow-up to be submitted to the Arctic Council, its Working Groups, and other relevant fora

The workshop will be useful for local, regional and national environmental managers, especially from Norway and Russia; government, business and NGO representatives working in the Arctic; members of scientific institutions and universities; and representatives of indigenous peoples and community organizations.

Dates: March 22-24, 2006
Location: Murmansk, Russia.

Wednesday 15 Mar 2006