This paper presents an overview of the existing institutional and legal framework relevant to environmental governance, as well as formal and informal governance structures in the Arctic marine area. It highlights the complexity of approaches applicable at the local, regional and international scales, rather than identifying gaps in governance at the sectoral scale.
Governance of the marine ecosystems within the Arctic is a critical issue, due to the growing pressure of activities like shipping, drilling and fisheries – pressures that will be exacerbated by global climate change. Increasingly, adaptation to climate change is being recognised as a key policy objective by policy makers, local indigenous peoples and a wide range of international stakeholders. Coherent governance structures encompassing local, regional, and global levels are especially important in the Arctic because the region both strongly impacts and is impacted by global systems. The background paper is available for download.