Arctic Yearbook 2012
however a study by Offerdal (2007) indicated very limited awareness of and application of the earlier
versions of the
within the relevant national bureaucracies (as quoted in Stokke, 2011).
There are now positive signs, however, that the Arctic Council is finally heading towards more
robust regulation of the oil and gas industry: it established a Task Force to develop an international
instrument on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response at the Nuuk Ministerial in 2011
and looks set to sign a binding treaty concerning response for potential oil spills in the Arctic (Arctic
Portal, 2012). Co-chaired by Norway, the United States and Russia, the Task Force is likely to
prepare an instrument based on
the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-
(OPRC), a framework to which all eight Arctic states are already parties and which explicitly,
in Article 10, promotes the development of multilateral or regional agreements on oil pollution
preparedness and response.
A legal instrument will likely be ready for signing at the 2013 Arctic
Eco-System Based Management
It has become de rigueur to discuss oceans management in terms of eco-system based management
(EBM), and the challenges found in the Arctic seem to lend themselves particularly well to such an
approach. Fundamentally, EBM is an environmental management approach that seeks to sustain
healthy and resilient ecosystems while supporting sustainable human use of that ecosystem. In terms
of marine management, EBM argues against piecemeal, single-issue management, and in favour of a
more integrated approach.
A number of Arctic Council working group activities have adopted these principles in the past, but
they are now gaining more political support. The Arctic Council ministers established an expert
group on Arctic ecosystem-based management at the 2011 Ministerial. Co-chaired by Sweden, the
USA and Iceland, the expert group is expected to recommend further activities in the field at the
2013 Arctic Council Ministerial. At the same time, the PAME working group has been conducting an
Arctic Ocean Review (AOR) since 2009, with the project expected to wrap up in 2013. The AOR
builds on the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan (AMSP), which was completed and endorsed in 2004.
The first phase of the AOR project was to compile information on global and regional measures
relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of the Arctic Ocean. The second phase is intended
to produce a final report that will summarize opportunities to strengthen existing measures and
instruments and make further recommendations for Arctic Ocean management (PAME, 2011).