Arctic Council working group meets in Kuujjuaq
Nunavik delegates talk about park development
A working group that operates under the Arctic Council has gathered in Kuujjuaq this week to talk about biodiversity and the impact of a warming climate on the Arctic’s thousands of plant and animal species.
The twice-annual gathering of the Conference of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) kicked off Feb. 11, drawing delegates from the council’s eight Arctic countries, its indigenous participants, along with some observer countries.
Under Canada’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, CAFF delegates are discussing the implementation of the Arctic Biodiversity Report , released in 2013.
The report contains the most up to date available scientific research, informed by traditional knowledge, on the status and trend of Arctic biodiversity.
The report comes with policy recommendations, including support for international efforts to address climate change and advocating for ecosystem-based management.
In a land covered much of the year by snow and ice, the Arctic is estimated to be home to more than 21,000 species.
And that’s a number that is potentially growing, said the Kativik Regional Government’s Catherine Pinard, who made a Feb. 11 presentation to the meeting on Nunavik’s parks.
“There are so few studies done in the North, that every time we study an area for a park, we discover new species,” she said.
Pinard and Michael Barrett, both with the KRG’s department of renewable resources, environment, lands and parks, shared with the meeting the region’s process for identifying and creating a provincial park, or a “parc national,” as they’re known in Quebec.
“We talked about the partnerships between us, the Quebec government and the communities through the park process,” Pinard said, adding that the same level of community participation is rare in other Arctic regions. “People are very interested; they’re very surprised at how many steps are involved in the process.”
Nunavik’s parks are one way the region puts land aside to protect some of its species, while CAFF looks at a much larger picture.
Another major topic at this week’s meeting is the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative, a project designed to secure the long-term sustainability of Arctic breeding migratory bird populations that are on the decline.
It is still in the early stages, CAFF said, but the initiative will likely prioritize species of importance to Canada’s North.
The Arctic Council’s CAFF meeting wraps up Feb. 13.