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Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program

Aim of the resource

Purpose of the CBMP

The CBMP facilitates Arctic biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of the region's natural resources. Its goal is to facilitate more rapid detection, communication, and response to significant biodiversity-related trends and pressures. It does this by:

  • Harmonizing and enhancing Arctic monitoring efforts, thereby improving the ability to detect and understand significant trends; and,
  • Reporting to, and communicating with, key decision makers and stakeholders, thereby enabling effective conservation and adaptation responses to changes in Arctic biodiversity.


Need for the CBMP

There are hundreds of biodiversity-related monitoring programs currently underway. Over half a billion dollars is spent on monitoring the Arctic’s living resources annually. However, this monitoring remains largely uncoordinated, which limits the ability to detect and understand circumpolar changes. Lack of coordination and technical information can impede coherent and effective decision making.

Meanwhile Arctic biodiversity faces many pressures and stressors leaving communities vulnerable and increasing the urgency to act. The Arctic’s significant contribution to the Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological balance makes the maintenance of healthy Arctic ecosystems a global imperative. Yet the Arctic is under increasing stress from climate change and resource development, with unpredictable consequences for biodiversity.

The 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) recommended "long term Arctic biodiversity monitoring be expanded and enhanced." In response to the ACIA, the Arctic Council directed two of its working groups —  the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) to examine the report's findings and develop follow-up programs to address key projections for the future of the Arctic. CAFF's primary response was to initiate the development of the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) as its cornerstone program. It received Arctic Council Ministerial endorsement in 2004 (Reykjavik Declaration) and 2006 (Salekhard Declaration).

A "Network of Networks": The CBMP is coordinating the wide range of Arctic biodiversity monitoring activity spanning biological, geographical, and climatic disciplines. This includes standardizing practices, coordinating and integrating information, and providing services in data management (through the Arctic Biodiversity Data Service), communications, reporting and decision-making.

In the context of Arctic biodiversity monitoring, this "network of networks" approach recognizes:

  • The importance of some species and species groups to both the people and biodiversity of the Arctic;
  • The value of building on existing Arctic monitoring capacity, which is mostly organized via networks;
  • That species-based monitoring is an established and effective method well suited for standardization across the circumpolar Arctic;
  • That people without technical training can readily comprehend the types of data yielded by species networks (versus the ecosystem-based approach); and,
  • The importance of building on the strong linkages between scientific and community-based monitoring found in some networks.

The CBMP works with partners to develop and promote measures for biotic elements across the Arctic, including expansion to new networks. Linkages will be established with other monitoring networks focusing on abiotic or extra-Arctic biological elements with impacts on and/or overlaps with Arctic biodiversity.


Using the resource
Requirements for using the resource:
<p>Please explore the <a href=""></a> wesite or contact the CAFF Secretariat at CAFF@CAFF.IS for further information.</p>
Potential benefits from using the resource
Coordinated Arctic monitoring provides a more holistic picture of the status of Arctic Ecosystems contributing to sound policy making
Provides the opportunity to identify threats and challenges to Arctic ecosystems
Assessment of effectiveness of the tool or instrument
<p>The CBMP has produced 3 monitoring plans for the Marine, Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecosystems of the Arctic, while the coastal monitoring plan is still in development. The CBMP released in 2017 its first assessment the State of the <a href="">Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report</a> which provides an assessment of the status the Arctic Marine Environments as well as an analysis on the status of monitoring.</p>
Sub/region where used:
Scale of application:
Temporal Coverage:
Practical information
UN languages in which the resource is available:
Development stage:
Full, working product
Contact details
Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Secretariat
Phone number:

The Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP) is a cornerstone programme to the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna working group of the Arctic council. The CBMP is an international network of scientists, government agencies, Indigenous organizations and conservation groups working together to harmonize and integrate efforts to monitor the Arctic's living resources.

The CBMP focuses its efforts on five key program areas:

CBMP experts are developing four coordinated and integrated Arctic Biodiversity Monitoring Plans to help guide circumpolar monitoring efforts. Results will be channeled into effective conservation, mitigation and adaptation policies supporting the Arctic. These plans represent the Arctic's major ecosystems:


Subregions covered