The Arctic Council working group Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) hosted a board meeting September 6-8 2016 in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. An APECS council member, Karolina Paquin was invited to attend as a representative. The meeting brought together 38 delegates from member states, permanent participants, observer states and expert organisations. Delegates came from all the Arctic states, in addition to the much appreciated participation by South Korea and Japan in relation to the Arctic Migratory Bird Initiative (AMBI).
The status of ongoing projects and proposals for new projects were reviewed with efficiency, with delegates being quite pleased avoiding the need for push ups to stay awake. Make sure to keep your eyes open for upcoming publications from the projects in the next year (www.caff.is)! The projects reviewed were: Arctic Invasive Species, Arctic Marine Biodiversity Report (SAMBR), Coastal Biodiversity Monitoring Project (CBMP), Arctic Freshwater Biodiversity Report (SAFBR), Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Report (START), Arctic SDI, Mainstreaming/Ecosystem Services, Protected Areas: Marine and Terrestrial, Arctic Marine Cooperation Task Force, Sea Ice Associated Biodiversity, Salmon Peoples of Arctic Rivers, Traditional Knowledge and Wisdom, Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI), Arctic Biodiversity Data Service (ABDS), and the Nomadic Herders Project.
This was Karolina’s first board meeting of this caliber, and she was left with a strong impression of the professionalism, rigour and passion of the delegates. She spoke with some delegates and inquired about the initiatives taken by their organizations regarding engagement with youth and early career researchers. She can tip APECES members to:
- potential youth engagement with Gilbert Castellanos from the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Service
- UNEP WCMC has occasional internships based in Cambridge, and are actively looking for help from an enthusiastic early career scientist with a penchant for working with large datasets
- The Nomadic Herders have engaged with indigenous youth by holding a workshop with 35 participants to teach them about local sustainability, indigenous knowledge, CAFF, biodiversity and conservation
Some interesting tools are in development, with expected releases in 2017:
- ArticDEM, a 2m resolution digital elevation model of the circumpolar Arctic to be released in Norway in Spring 2017, public domain and free to use
- Arctic Biodiversity Data Service, a database with free to use data
- Webinars to communicate the content of the developing reports
- Globio3, a model to assess environmental, climate and biodiversity change and fragmenting habitats, to be used by decision makers
The CAFF working group is a wonderful collection of experts from around the world, and show genuine interest in how APECS can become a partner in initiatives. We can look forward to working with them in the future, and their board meetings allow for young scientists to gain insight into the how working groups function.