STICK – A NEW APPROACH
IMPLEMENTING ARCTIC COUNCIL DECISIONS &
Marc-André Dubois & Clive Tesar
Over the past 5 years, the Arctic Council has done a commendable job of increasingly
developing implementation plans and follow-up mechanisms for its recommendations and
decisions. This has been an incremental process. Landmark reports such as the 2004 Arctic
Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) fell a little flat because, despite thorough research and
scholarship, the recommendations that flowed from such assessments went largely undone and
unremarked. By 2009 the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment was implemented through the
Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) plan that has been monitored, with
implementation reports in 2011 and 2013.
The flaw in implementation of recommendations flowing from Arctic Council reports is that the
only entities that truly take on the recommendations from Arctic Council working groups
are…Arctic Council working groups. What these working groups can do is limited. They can
develop further research, they can convene symposiums, and they can make recommendations.
They cannot compel the activities that would make the biggest difference: implementation at a
national and international level. We are not suggesting that should change. The Arctic Council is
unlikely to ever have the authority to compel member states to undertake activities on a national
level. However, as the recommendations are decided by a process of negotiation by those
member states together with permanent participants, we believe it is not too much to ask that
Marc-André Dubois is Advisor, External Relations & Clive Tesar is Head of Communications and
External Relations at WWF Global Arctic Programme.