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Arctic Biodiversity Assessment

Lessons learnt
A key challenge for conservation in the Arctic and globally is to shorten the gap between data collection and policy response. CAFF has recognized this challenge and in recent years has worked towards developing a solution. This approach has focused on not just developing traditional assessments, but also addressing the collection, processing, and analysis of data on a continuous basis. Indeed, the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment provides a baseline of current knowledge, and along with the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program, will ensure policymakers are provided with regular assessments and analysis.

CAFF's mandate is to address the conservation of Arctic biodiversity, and to communicate its findings to the governments and residents of the Arctic, helping to promote practices which ensure the sustainability of the Arctic’s living resources. This assessment contributes to fulfilling this mandate.

Peer review

This assessment involved 250 scientists and was subject to an extensive peer review process.

Contact details
Tom Barry
UN languages in which the assessment is available

The purpose of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA) is to synthesize and assess the status and trends of biological diversity in the Arctic. As there is limited data on many species, it discusses broad trends in habitat condition and extent, ecosystem function and overall biodiversity. It is based on best available scientific knowledge and insights from traditional knowledge holders. 250 scientists contributed to the assessment which was coordinated by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council, and the assessment was completed in 2013.

The ABA consists of four components: (1) Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010 - Selected Indicators of Change, which provided a preliminary snapshot of status and trends of Arctic biodiversity; (2) Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: status and trends in Arctic biodiversity, a comprehensive, peer-reviewed scientific assessment of Arctic biodiversity; (3) a Traditional Ecological Knowledge Compendium; and (4) a Summary for Policy Makers aimed at making the science accessible for decision-makers and identifying actions to address key findings.


Subregions covered