Increased maritime traffic, waste pollution and acidification are just some of the factors endangering the Arctic’s unique marine biodiversity. Bearing in mind how fragile the local ecosystems are, how can the Arctic states contribute towards preserving the Arctic Ocean’s marine biodiversity ?
Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety II
Chaired by Johann Davies (DE). Covered by Mina Budimirović (RS)
Marine biodiversity is the variety of flora and fauna in the ocean. The effects of climate change are changing the Arctic marine ecosystems, impacting species at all levels of the food chain. Threats range from sea ice melt and rising water temperatures to habitat fragmentation and pollution. The looming loss of marine biodiversity is likely to have consequences worldwide and is not showing signs of slowing down, despite no shortage of global and regional goals for environmental protection.
Several types of mammals in the Beaufort Sea are being impacted by climate change. Perhaps most importantly, polar bears, the Arctic Oceanʼs apex predator and therefore crucial for the food chain, have been declining in numbers due to the sea ice melt and reduced food availability. One animal so far seemingly unaffected by the changing habitat are bowhead whales. However, this may be a false observation, as the speciesʼ recovery aer decades of intensive whaling may obscure the effects of climate change.
In the Chukchi Sea, more moderate water temperatures have created a viable habitat for invasive copepods, a type of crustacean. Moreover, seabird species typically found in more southern waters, such as albatrosses, have migrated here from more southern areas such as the Bering Sea, separating Russia and Alaska.
As in the Barents Sea, the beluga population in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago has been declining in the past few years. Another species heavily affected by climate change in this area is the ivory gull, a seabird species which in the past 20 years has lost up to 90% of its population. This is mainly due to sea ice melt, as the birds breed and raise their chicks on sea ice.
Countless species in the Barents Sea are being impacted by climate change, both individually and on population level. Beluga whale numbers are declining, while the individual health of harp seals is being threatened by reduced food availability and longer travel times to hunting grounds. Moreover, increasing water temperatures are enabling non-local predators such as killer whales to enter the Barents Sea, threatening both seal populations and polar bears, who so far have been the Barents Seaʼs apex predator.
Other invasive species include boreal copepod, a type of crustacean which is migrating north and increasingly endangering both the local crustaceans as well as predators who rely on the
more nutritious local species.
Fish numbers, such as capelin or polar cod, a species crucial to the food chain, have also been declining, partly due to an invasive predator, the Atlantic cod.
Water temperatures in the Greenland Sea have been steadily on the rise and causing sea ice melt, significantly threatening the local population of hooded seals. As hooded seals are important prey for both polar bears and killer whales, these species are also impacted by climate change, demonstrating the cascading effects of habitat changes. Several seabird
species in this region are also under threat.
Several species in Hudson Bay have changed their behaviour due to climate change resulting in cascading effects for the food chain surrounding them. The beluga whales in the area have
been observed adapting the timing of their annual migration to the extended and warmer Arctic summers, in turn affecting their preferred prey, such as crustaceans and Greenland halibut. Some types of seabirds inhabiting northern Hudson Bay have also adapted their
hunting behaviour to changes in their habitat, now feeding on capelin, a fish species that has been expanding northwards with rising water temperatures.
The Kara Sea is inhabited by only a few marine mammals or seabirds and is generally monitored only sporadically, resulting in a lack of data for this region.
Similarly to its neighbour, the Kara Sea, the Laptev Sea is not the subject of continuous monitoring and, therefore, there is a lack of data on the fish, seabirds, and mammals living here and how they are affected by climate change or human activity.
Several species of seabirds, for instance ancient murrelets, which typically inhabit more southern regions, have been migrating into this region, following their prey attracted by warmer water temperatures. However, for other groups of animals, such as mammals, there is
only little data available for this region.
The Arctic Basin is a deep basin at the centre of the Arctic Ocean and is the habitat of only relatively few species, mainly different types of plankton, invertebrates, for instance crabs or
shrimps, and algae that lives directly on the ice. This may however change with climate change. Since the 1980s, the sea ice algae inhabiting the Arctic Basin, the basis for the Arcticʼs marine food chain, has come under threat due to the sea ice melt. The rising water temperatures may also enable some fish species such as the Greenland halibut, typically found further south, to migrate into the Arctic Basin, which could threaten local species. Circumpolar marine Arctic, the seas surrounding the Arctic Basin:
Executive summary
A system made up of all species as well as the physical conditions that surround them, for example a forest, a desert, or a sea
A network of flora and fauna through which food is transported from producer species, such as algae or fungi, to apex species, such as polar bears
The transformation of one large habitat into several smaller and isolated ones
Listen to the audio Topic Overview
Our ocean and sea ice is changing right before our eyes. The sea ice is melting, the glaciers are melting, the permafrost is melting, the shorelines are eroding, the animals are changing [...]. These changes are not only locally and regionally significant but are globally important, as well. [...] We work to convince the world that protecting the Arctic indeed secures our common future.
Okalik Eegeesiak,
Former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)
O. Eegeesiak (2017). The Arctic Ocean and the Sea Ice Is Our Nuna. UN Chronicle. Link
The former entails rising temperatures and melting sea ice. The latter includes the attempts by governments and private companies to exploit the Arctic’s natural resources and newly ice-free sea routes.

Researchers can only estimate how precisely these developments will impact biodiversity in the Arctic Ocean. However, as emphasised by Eegeesiak, most scientists agree that the effects will be felt beyond the Arctic. The Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans are interconnected. Therefore shifts in the Arctic Ocean’s biodiversity will invariably impact its neighbours, threatening marine life across the globe.
The words of Okalik Eegeesiak highlight the importance of stabilising and securing the Arctic’s marine biodiversity and the potential fallout of failing to do so. The Arctic Ocean’s biodiversity is, to a large part, unique.2 Unfortunately, the Arctic Ocean and its inhabitants face two kinds of threat: climate change and increased economic exploitation.3
WWF (2022). ArcNet: protecting marine biodiversity in the Arctic. Link
C. Michel et al. (2013). Marine Ecosystems. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). Link
Despite its remote location, the Arctic Ocean is a hotspot of global climate change. Here, due to the so-called “Arctic Amplification”, temperatures are rising twice as fast as in the rest of the world.4 In numbers, this could mean a 5 °C increase in summer temperatures, rendering the Arctic Ocean virtually ice-free during the summertime by 2050 or even as soon as 2035.5 6 7

For species whose main habitat is the Arctic Ocean, rising water temperatures and reduced sea ice could well mean extinction, followed by cascading effects in the ecosystem around them.8 When developing strategies to protect biodiversity, it is therefore crucial not to solely focus on single species, but look at entire food chains. Food chains are highly-developed and fragile networks of flora and fauna through which food is transported from producer species, such as algae or fungi, to apex species, such as polar bears.9 Their recent decline is one example of the cascading effects that are currently threatening Arctic marine food chains. Polar bears are apex predators who rely on ice shelves for rearing cubs, hunting, and resting and therefore are particularly vulnerable to sea ice melt.10 They predominantly feed on seals, hence a reduction in their numbers will mean, i.a., a rising seal population, in turn threatening fishes, which are seals’ main prey.11

However, it is not only mammals that depend on sea ice. All species along the food chain depend on it, including fishes, marine birds, viruses, and bacteria.12 Taken together, the impact of climate change on all these species could cause the entire Arctic marine food chain to collapse.13
The Arctic Ocean lies between the northern coasts of three continents and covers an area of approximately 10 million square kilometres.14 It is a diverse area of 17 Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs), each containing a unique and fragile system of flora and fauna highly adapted to their region's physical, biological, and chemical characteristics.15

Abrupt changes to the climate can cause severe distress to local species that cannot adapt fast enough.16 Conversely, invasive species, now able to survive in Arctic regions, are migrating northwards, further destabilising regional ecosystems and food chains.17 While at the moment this is seen primarily as a future threat, not a current problem, there is a danger for local species, who face new predators, competition for food, or loss of their previously preferred food, which is being replaced by less nutritious invasive species.18
The Arctic Ocean is a dynamic and evolving territory. Except for some isolated regions, such as the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, there is a constant exchange of water masses, food sources, and ice shelves, as well as an annual migration of species. These movements occur within the Arctic Ocean and with the bordering Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.19 20 Hence, when the influx of rivers, precipitation, or ships transport pollutants, e.g. fuel, black carbon, or plastic, into one Arctic region, the pollution will rarely stay within that region.21 22 23

Furthermore, the Arctic Ocean is more vulnerable to ocean acidification because its colder waters absorb more carbon dioxide (CO2) than the southern oceans.24 This is accelerated by climate change increases the amount of CO2-carrying freshwater entering the Arctic Ocean from rivers and through rain, further affecting its chemical makeup and impacting species.25 Higher ocean acidification levels are estimated to primarily affect species at the bottom of the Arctic food chain, for example by reducing the growth and reproduction rates of plankton populations. However, as these species are consumed by predators, such consequences will invariably make their way up the food chain and affect the overall biodiversity.26
Climate change is increasing the possibilities of economic exploitation in the Arctic Ocean. For example, the development of oil and gas resources, e.g. off the Alaskan coast or in the Kara Sea, has only become feasible due to reduced ice cover.27 Any development will entail habitat fragmentation for local species through construction work, increased shipping, and oil spills.28 29

Shipping threatens the Arctic Ocean’s ecological stability, as newly opened routes, such as the Northern Sea Route (NSR), make cargo transports via the Arctic possible.30 Arctic maritime tourism has also recently increased, with 73 cruise ships entering the Arctic Ocean in 2019.31 32 This intensified maritime traffic is causing pollution from ship fuels, especially from gas tankers, interrupting animals’ migration routes, and possibly introducing invasive species via ballast water, the water carried by ships for increased stability, which is regularly released into the ocean.33 34
Fundamental challenges
Our Planet | Frozen Worlds (relevant from minute 31 onwards)
S. Hosking (2020). A new age of Arctic science discovery — the AI way. The Alan Turing Institute. Link
C. Michel et al. (2013). Marine Ecosystems. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). Link
 ESA Climate Office (2020). Simulations suggest ice-free Arctic summers by 2050. Link
A. Borunda (2020). Arctic summer sea ice could disappear as early as 2035. Link
C. Michel et al. (2013). Marine Ecosystems. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). Link
National Geographic (2023). Food Chain. Link
L. Givetash (2020). Polar bears could disappear by 2100 due to melting ice, climate change, study says. NBC News. Link
C. Wong (2022). Polar Bears: Endangered Animals Spotlight. Earth.Org. Link
C. Michel et al. (2013). Marine Ecosystems. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). Link
G. Dickie (2017). On thin ince: Disappearing zooplankton could collapse Arctic food chain. United Press International. Link
C. Michel et al. (2013). Marine Ecosystems. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). Link
C. Wang et al. (2022). Hydrographic Feature Variation Caused Pronounced Differences in Planktonic Ciliate Community in the Pacific Arctic Region in the Summer of 2016 and 2019. Link 
WWF (2022). 11 Arctic Species Affected by Climate Change. Link
Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) (2022). Arctic Invasive Species. Link
J. Thyrring and M. Sejr (2018). Climate Change draws invasive species to the Arctic. ScienceNordic. Link
B. Rudels and E. Carmack (2022). Arctic Ocean Water Mass Structure and Circulation. Oceanography Magazine. Link
B. Rudels and E. Carmack (2022). Arctic Ocean Water Mass Structure and Circulation. Oceanography Magazine. Link
Arctic Council (2022). Addressing Arctic Pollution. Link
K. McVeigh (2022). ‘Black carbon’ threat to Arctic as sea routes open up with global heating. The Guardian. Link
M. Bergmann et al. (2022). Plastic pollution in the Arctic. Link
C. Michel et al. (2013). Marine Ecosystems. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). Link
Arctic Council (2013). Arctic Ocean Acidification. Link
Resource Development Council (2022) for Alaska. Alaska’s Oil and Gas Industry. Link
V. Afanaslev (2022). Gazprom starts up a gas field on the shore of the Kara Sea. Upstream. Link
M. Humpert (2011). The Future of the Northern Sea Route - A “Golden Waterway” or a Niche Trade Route. The Arctic Institute. Link
Q. Chen et al. (2021). Interactions between Arctic passenger ship activities and emissions. Link
 I. Kolçak et al. (2022). Environmental Impact of Cruise Shipping in Arctic Region. Link
N. Bazilchuk (2022). The worst polluters in the Arctic are not what you think. Norwegian SciTech News. Link
Complex physical interactions between climate, ocean, and mainland in Arctic , causing an acceleration in the rise of temperatures
Species at the top of the food chain
A platform of sea ice, usually originating from a glacier and covering large portions of the Arctic Ocean, especially during the winter months
A species, be it animal or plant, that enters an ecosystem which it is not native to, thereby causing harm to said ecosystem's species through hunting, competition for food etc.
Pure carbon material emitted when burning fossil fuels
Large-scale absorption of carbon dioxide by seawater, causing a reduction in the pH of the ocean
A shipping route along the Siberian coast running from the northern Atlantic to the Bering Strait
At the global level, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the main body coordinating the world’s response to the environmental and climate crisis. As of 2022, fifty years after its inception, it has i.a. contributed to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its 17 goals, and is governed by the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA).35 Made up of all 193 UN Member States, UNEA is the highest-level body for environmental questions and is part of the environmental branch of the 2030 Agenda.36

Working closely with the UN are countless international and national non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and think tanks. They campaign and implement projects for preserving biodiversity, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)37, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)38, and — specifically for the Arctic region — the Arctic Institute.39

The primary stakeholders in the Arctic region itself are the Arctic Council40 and its members. The core mission of the Council is to ensure peace, sustainability, and stability in the region and enable collaborative decision-making among the Arctic states. In doing so, it relies on the expertise of its working groups, whose portfolios include the “Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME)” and the “Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)”.

Six Indigenous Peoples’ organisations, including the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)41 and the Saami Council42, are so-called “Permanent Participants'' of the Arctic Council and are consulted in the decision-making process. Indigenous communities, arguably best-placed to monitor Arctic biodiversity, are also represented in the non-political programmes of the Arctic Council, such as the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP)43, tasked with researching the development of the Arctic’s biodiversity, including offshore.44 45
Key stakeholders
Canada, Denmark, Finland, iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States
UN Environment Programme (2022). About UN Environment Programme. Link
UN Environment Assembly (2022). About the United Nations Environment Assembly. Link
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (2023). You can trust WWF. Link
 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (2023). United for life & livelihoods. Link
The Arctic Institute (2023). The Arctic Institute. Center for Circumpolar Security Studies. Link 
Arctic Council (2023). The Arctic Council. Link
 Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada (2023). Inuit. United Voices of the Arctic. Link
Saami Council (2023). Welcome to the Saami Council. Link
Arctic Council (2021). Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP). Link
 O. Eegeesiak (2017). The Arctic Ocean and the Sea Ice Is Our Nuna. UN Chronicle. Link
 Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) (2022). Welcome to the CBMP. Link
The centrepiece of the global fight against biodiversity loss is the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).46 Ratified by 196 states (with the notable exception of the United States), it aims to conserve the world’s biodiversity, gathering its signatories for regular meetings known as the Conference of the Parties (COP). The last conference, COP 1547, held in Montreal in December 2022, resulted in the landmark Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)48, which has among its targets the conservation of 30% of the world’s terrestrial, coastal, and marine areas, and the restoration of another 30% of currently degraded areas by 2030.49 Prominently placed is also the 14th UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14), which calls on humankind to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans”.50 Marine biodiversity will also be at the forefront of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, from 2021 to 2030, also dubbed the “Ocean Decade”.51

UNEP works towards this goal with its Regional Seas Programme, which develops so-called Regional Seas Conventions and Actions Plans (RSCAPs) for individual marine regions. Despite being part of the programme, the Arctic Ocean does not have its own UNEP-designed RSCAP, and all projects in the Arctic are implemented by the Arctic Council’s PAME working group.52 53

Moving away from the UN level, the Arctic Council is currently reaching the end of its Arctic Marine Strategic Plan 2015-2025 (AMSP)54, in which it aims to conserve the unique biodiversity of each Large Marine Ecosystem (LME), promote sustainable resource exploitation in the Arctic, and monitor how the Arctic’s marine biodiversity develops.55 On the topic of monitoring, in 2018, the Arctic Council also adopted the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation, aiming to close coordination gaps in research and conservation efforts.56
Measures in place
In 2015, PAME finalised a framework57 for establishing a pan-Arctic network of “marine protected areas (MPAs)”, including a toolbox for states in setting up MPAs in their territories.58 PAME also published guidelines59 on an ecosystem-based approach to preserving marine Arctic biodiversity, recognising the need for individual solutions tailored to each LME’s needs.

Finally, there have recently been calls, such as in a 2019 report60 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to enhance policies on environmental protection by including Indigenous Peoples and their unique local knowledge in the political decision-making process, as has already been implemented in the scientific field.61
There are two strands of the COP: The first and perhaps more well-known is the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the last of which, COP 27, was held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. This first strand entails international discussions regarding the fight against climate, while the second strand, mentioned here, is regarding biodiversity loss
An area in a sea or ocean with a special protected status limiting and banning human activity in and economic exploitation of the area
An integrated approach to reconstructing and safeguarding entire ecosystems, as opposed to individual species
Convention on Biological Diversity (2022). The Convention on Biological Diversity. Link
UN Biodiversity Programme (2022). UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15). Link
Convention on Biological Diversity (2022). COP 15: Nations Adopt Four Goals, 23 Targets For 2030 in Landmark UN Biodiversity Agreement. Link
Convention on Biological Diversity (2022). COP15: Nations adopt four goals, 23 targets for 2030 in landmark UN biodiversity agreement. Link
United Nations (2022): Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Link
United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2023). The Ocean Decade. Link
 L. Mead (2021). The "Crown Jewels" of Environmental Diplomacy: Assessing the UNEP Regional Seas Programme. International Institute for Sustainable Development. Link
UN Environment Programme (2022). Contributions of Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans to a Healthy Ocean. Link
Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (2015). Arctic Marine Strategic Plan 2015-2015. Link
UN Environment Programme (2022). Arctic region. Link
Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) (2022). Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan. Link
Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (2015). Framework for a Pan-Arctic Network of Marine Protected Areas. Link
UN Environment Programme (2022). Contributions of Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans to a Healthy Ocean. Link 
 Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (2019). EA Guidelines. Implementing an Ecosystem Approach to Management of Arctic Marine Ecosystems. Link
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2019). Special Report: Special Report on Climate Change and Land. Summary for Policymakers. Link
M. Vidal (2022). Despite Misunderstandings, Scientists and Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic Have Collaborated on Research Into Mercury Pollution. Inside Climate News. Link
As stated by António Gutteres, UN secretary-general, “our world faces a triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss, and pollution.”62 Each of these interlocking crises requires aggressive global action, and none can be solved without solving the other two. While ambitious goals for protecting the world’s biodiversity are abundant at the UN and regional levels, the implementation gap has prevented the world from making real progress, let alone turning the tide in the fight against the biodiversity crisis.63 This also holds for the Arctic Ocean. Beyond the Arctic Council, there is no global strategy for protecting the Arctic’s marine biodiversity, constituting a significant gap in environmental legislation. As the world’s climate changes, water temperatures rise, and vital species face extinction, how can and should the Arctic states leverage their influence on the world stage to protect the Arctic Ocean?
UN Environment Programme (2022). About UN Environment Programme. Link
World Wildlife Fund (2019). WWF suggestion for the “transparent implementation, monitoring and reporting mechanism”. Link
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Motion for a resolution
Submitted by:
Ersun Akbaşak (TR), Gemma Arcidiacono (IT), Lily Bartholomew (SE), Rares Boldan (RO), Colombe de Lambert (FR), Martina González Bosacoma (ES), Dušan Grujić (RS), Džiliāna Heinrihsone (LV), Robin Kelly (IE), Stefani Nay- denova (BG), Diogo Rosmaninho (PT), Sofie Rybka Sommerlund (NO), Yeva Sargsyan (AM), Liv Straat (NL), Johann Davies (Chairperson, DE)
The European Youth Parliament aims to protect the Arctic’s marine biodiversity by strengthening environmental legislation in the region. It strives for a progressive, effective, and cohesive legal framework that rebalances long-term environmental protection, economic interests, and the interests of the Arctic’s local residents, in particular Indigenous People. It aims to foster pan-Arctic cooperation, harmonising knowledge on the Arctic’s marine biodiversity, while including local populations. Lastly, it strives for a multi-level approach combining regional and international solutions that tackle the root causes of the present endangerment of marine Arctic biodiversity, including climate change and marine pollution,

A. Recognising that global warming is causing substantial shifts in Arctic ecosystems, risking the potential collapse of food chains,

B. Whereas the Arctic Ocean consists of 17 Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs)1, each containing a unique and fragile system of flora and fauna that is finely adapted to their region,

C. Noting with regret the lack of cooperation between the Arctic States on matters regarding on matters regarding environmental protection and conservation efforts, as suggested in Resolution 1596/2008 of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly2,

D. Recognising the need for joint international research and environmental protection efforts in spite of geopolitical tensions,

E. Conscious of the current contradictions between industrial and Indigenous economic interests,

F. Bearing in mind the destructive effects on ecosystems in the Arctic Ocean due to human actions, including:
i. Increased water temperatures and melting sea ice
ii. disruptions to the food chain due to the migration of invasive species into the Arctic Ocean
iii. increased pollution due to the widespread disposal of waste into waters,

G. Recognising that increased shipping in the Arctic Ocean contributes to marine pollution and the destruction of Arctic ice sheets,

H. Concerned about the increased acidification3 of the Arctic Ocean and its effects of biodiversity,

I. Regretting that current environmental legislation on marine biodiversity is inadequate to protect the Arctic Ocean,

J. Drawing attention to the prevalence of unsustainable economic practices in the Arctic Ocean, such as deep-sea mining4,

K. Emphasising that the environmental effects of economic exploitation in one maritime region have ripple effects throughout the entire Arctic Ocean,

L. Acknowledging the implementation gap between the recommendations of scientists and actions of lawmakers;

Joining forces for Arctic biodiversity

1. Urges the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA)5 to formally recognise the importance of the Arctic Ocean for global biodiversity;

2. Calls upon the Arctic States to adopt a united approach towards the preservation of Arctic marine biodiversity, taking into consideration the specific regional needs of each LME;

3. Calls upon the Arctic States to strengthen the participation of Indigenous Peoples regarding Arctic environmental protection by mandating:
a. the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in scientific research, through special funding schemes,
b. the integration of Indigenous representatives into decision-making processes;

4. Calls upon the Arctic States to promote Arctic marine biodiversity among stakeholders from civil society, educational institutions, and private companies by:
a. conducting seminars on environmentally sustainable business practices in the Arctic Ocean,
b. integrating the issue of Arctic marine biodiversity protection into school curricula;

Rebalancing Arctic resource exploitation and environmental protection

5. Calls upon the Arctic States to cooperate in the establishment of transnational ‘ecological corridors’6 between the Greenland Sea and the Bering Sea in which maritime traffic would be prohibited;

6. Calls upon the Arctic States to harmonise national legislation on a limit on vessels permitted to enter one LME at a time;

7. Further calls upon the Arctic States to increase vessel security in the Arctic Ocean by harmonising and increasing minimum technological and safety requirements for vessels entering the Arctic Ocean as well as emergency guidelines for accidents such as oil spills;

8. Encourages Arctic States to include commercial fishing enterprises in the Arctic Ocean in the financing of conservation and restoration efforts for fish stocks;

9. Suggests Arctic States to harmonise and raise minimum environmental standards for deep-sea mining operations in the Arctic Ocean;

Strengthening research and monitoring

10. Requests UNEA to continuously monitor the implementation of existing environmental protection laws in the Arctic Ocean and specifically for each LME;

11. Calls upon the Arctic Council to revitalise its Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan7 for research into marine Arctic biodiversity;

12. Calls upon Arctic States to ensure evidence-driven environmental policy by enhancing information flows between researchers and parliaments;

Best-practice implementation and innovation

13. Recommends the Arctic States to implement a pilot system of rotating fisheries management8 within the Arctic Ocean;

14. Proposes the Arctic States monitor the Arctic Ocean’s acidification levels by installing floating devices, following the example of the United States’ Ocean Acidification Program (OAP)9;

15. Further proposes the EU Member States enhance their waste management systems through public- private partnerships such as Greenland’s cooperation with Mil-tek10;

16. Calls upon the Arctic States to implement Marine Protected Area (MPA) approaches such as Canada’s ‘Last Ice Area’ model11;

17. Encourages all EU Member States to adopt the ‘Pant’ system12 in their waste management
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The Arctic Ocean can be divided into 17 so-called ‘Large Marine Ecosystems’ (LMEs) that each encompass more than 200,000 km2 and have distinct ecological characteristics and needs.

Resolution 1596/2008 of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly calls for increased political cooperation among the Arctic States with the overarching goal of strengthening environmental protection.
Ocean acidification is the large-scale absorption of carbon dioxide by seawater, causing a reduction in the pH of the ocean.

Deep-sea mining is the extraction of rare earths and minerals from the seabed and has been criticised for its potential environmental impact.

Made up of all 193 UN Member States, the UN Environmental Assembly is the world’s highest-level body for environmental questions.
Ecological corridors are protected passages with special protection status that allow for the undisturbed movement, reproduction, and hunting of species.

The Arctic Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Plan is the Arctic Council’s strategy for monitoring the development of local biodiversity.

Rotating fisheries management is a system of rotating marine protected areas, in which fishing is prohibited for a designated time period, which has proven successful in contributing to fish population restoration.
Under its Ocean Acidification Program (OAP), the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has installed nineteen floating devices that gather data on ocean chemistry.

The partnership between Mil-Tek and several communities in Greenland has proven highly successful at driving up recycling rates and minimising waste.
The ‘Last Ice Area’ model is a Canadian network for environmental protection zones in the area which is projected to be covered by summer sea ice. This area could prove a vital refuge for species when the Arctic Ocean is largely ice-free during the summer.

The ‘pant system’ is a comprehensive national recycling strategy that has proven highly effective in reducing waste, particularly in the Nordic countries.
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