PAME released the framework for a pan-Arctic network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in 2015. It sets out a common vision for international cooperation in MPA network development and management, based on best practices and previous Arctic Council initiatives. This framework aims to inform the development of MPAs and networks of MPAs that are located within the national jurisdiction of Arctic States, and chart a course for future collaborative planning, management and actions for the conservation and protection of the Arctic marine environment.
The framework offers guidance; it is not legally binding. Each Arctic State pursues MPA development based on its own authorities, priorities and timelines.
The purpose of the pan-Arctic MPA network, composed of individual Arctic State MPA networks and other area-based conservation measures, is to protect and restore marine biodiversity, ecosystem function and special natural features, and preserve cultural heritage and subsistence resources for present and future generations.
Having a joint framework in place confers a number of advantages that can support and enhance the work of individual Arctic States, such as:
- Advancing cohesion and conservation effectiveness by strengthening ecological linkages among MPAs and MPA networks across the Arctic;
- Applying best practices for establishing and managing MPAs and MPA networks to the Arctic environment;
- Supporting achievement of domestic conservation objectives and international commitments and targets;
- Strengthening intergovernmental cooperation on MPA management and scientific issues among Arctic MPA authorities; and
- Addressing some issues of concern for shared species.