Highlights and images for 9 October 2018



Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland

On Tuesday, 9 October, the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2018 opened in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland, welcomed participants underlining the need to foster interactions between scientists and policy makers. He highlighted that the Arctic is not isolated from the rest of the globe, pointing to the region’s role as breeding ground for migratory birds. Niinistö also emphasized that climate change should not only be in the headlines when a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is published, but needs to “stay firmly on the agenda for the foreseeable future.”In the morning, participants attended a plenary session entitled “Our knowledge, Our actions: addressing biodiversity conservation in a changing Arctic,” which highlighted the significant consequences of climate change in the Arctic region, discussed mechanisms to foster co-production between scientists and traditional knowledge holders, and emphasized the need to engage industry actors. In the afternoon, the group of almost 500 participants divided itself among several parallel sessions discussing, inter alia:

  • the impact of reduced ice cover in the Arctic marine environment;
  • trends in circumpolar Arctic freshwaters;
  • cultural heritage and land-use planning;
  • early warning and approaches to measuring changes in biodiversity;
  • reducing the effects of commercial fishing on biodiversity;
  • Arctic biodiversity education and outreach;
  • promoting ecosystem services of Arctic wetlands for sustainable development; and
  • responsible mining.

In the evening, there was a showcase of short films such as “Our Shared Heritage: Arctic Breeding Birds in the Yellow Sea.”

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, provided daily digital coverage and has provided a summary report from the Arctic Biodiversity Congress 2018.


Photos by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis

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Tiina Sanila-Aikio, President of the Sámi Parliament, Finland
Tom Barry, Executive Secretary, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)
Anna Morottaja performing during the openning session.
Cynthia Jacobson, Chair, CAFF
Aulikki Alanen, Ministry of Environment, Finland
Dalee Sambo Dorough, Chair, Inuit Circumpolar Council
Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen, Senior Arctic Officials Chair
Plenary Panel - Our Knowledge, our Αctions: Addressing Βiodiversity Conservation in a Changing Arctic
From L-R: Moderator Martin Breum; Tasha Elizarde, Arctic Youth Ambassador, US; Gunn-Britt Retter, Saami Council; Mike Gill, Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON); and Vladimir Kattsov, Director, Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory
Mike Gill, GEO BON
Vladimir Kattsov, Director, Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory
Tasha Elizarde, Arctic Youth Ambassador, US, and Gunn-Britt Retter, Saami Council
The Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme (CBMP) Freshwater: Coordinated Monitoring and Assessment to Improve Knowledge on Status and Trends in Circumpolar Arctic Freshwaters
Maria Kahlert, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Kirsten Seestern Christoffersen, University of Copenhagen
Willem Goedkoop, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Seppo Hellsten, Finnish Environment Institute
Jennifer Lento, University of New Brunswick
Large Herbivores as Agents of Ecosystem Based Management in the Circumpolar Arctic
Howard Epstein, University of Virginia
Tim Horstkotte, Umeå University
The CBMP as an International Player and a Regional Biodiversity Observation Network of GEO BON: Exploring Synergies
Alexander Shestakov, Secretariat, UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Sara Longan, Executive Director, North Slope Science Initiative
Tom Christensen, CAFF
Petteri Vihervaara, Finnish Environment Institute
The Problem of the Polar Bear: Does the Symbol of the Arctic Prevent us from Fixing the Arctic?
From L-R: Gabriel Stenek, Arctic Youth Ambassador, US; Sanna Vannar, Arctic Youth Ambassador, Sweden; and Leanne Clare, WWF-Canada
Gabriel Stenek, Arctic Youth Ambassador, US
Leanne Clare, WWF-Canada
Michael Alexander, WWF-International
Understanding Cumulative Effects on Arctic Biodiversity and Landscapes
View of the panel during the discussion.
Mikhail Pogodaev, Northern Forum
Levi Westerveld, GRID-Arendal
The State of the Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report
Edda Johannesen, Norwegian Institute of Marine Research
Connie Lovejoy, Université Laval
Cecilie von Quillfeldt, Norwegian Polar Institute
Lis Lindal Jørgensen, Norwegian Institute of Marine Research
Around the Venue
Activists outside the Congress holding "no consent, no access" banners, protesting against the Arctic Railway project connecting the Baltic to the Barents Sea.



Non-state coalitions