Oceans 5 is supporting a coalition of organizations seeking to develop an interconnected network of marine protected areas across the circumpolar Arctic. The grantees include Circumpolar Conservation Union, the Peace Development Fund, Ocean Conservancy, and Natural Resources Defense Council.
Marine protected areas are considered a key management tool for addressing the rapidly changing Arctic marine ecosystem. With climate change increasing temperatures in the region at double the global average, the Arctic environment is facing rapid change and exhibiting signs of extreme stress. While the circumpolar Arctic is a relatively untouched ecosystem when compared to other areas of the planet, the dual pressures of climate related impacts and increasing human activity brought on by receding sea ice threaten to cause irreversible damage to the wildlife and communities of the Arctic. Currently, only approximately 5% of the Arctic marine ecosystem is within marine protected areas.
The project seeks to take advantage of the Circumpolar Conservation Union’s unique access to high-level intergovernmental Arctic Council meetings and ensure that the Council, the Arctic nations, the indigenous communities of the Arctic, and other stakeholders work together to follow through on the Council’s stated priority of developing an ecologically significant network of marine protected areas across the top of the planet.