The Arctic coastal areas are not only vital to indigenous peoples and ecosystems, they also represent the world’s remaining intact ecosystems including land, coast and sea. In many protected areas, indigenous peoples can retain their traditional rights of subsistence hunting. In order to implement these intentions, it is of major importance that the appropriate resources are allocated to relevant agencies and organizations to ensure that an actual implementation of a marine protected areas network is developed together with co-management systems.
Hence, an opportunity exists to help strengthen the resilience of Arctic ecosystems to climate change by minimizing the extent of other pressures. This, in turn, can help indigenous peoples buy the time they need to help shape and define their own future and manage the resources upon which many still depend in a sustainable manner.
Figure 26. Current unprotected marine areas bordering on coastal protected areas.
These coastal zones include some of the very last continuous ecosystems where terrestrial, coastal and marine areas are industrially unexploited. Through comanagement practices, indigenous peoples can retain their traditional subsistence rights while still protecting important traditional resources for future generations.