CORRESPONDENCE

Arctic protection can’t wait for global treaty

UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.
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UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

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Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway.

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UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.

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The Arctic is one of the regions that will be regulated through a treaty on marine biodiversity in the high seas that is currently under negotiation at the United Nations. This global treaty will integrate existing networks and institutions and make them adopt common environmental standards. It will also encourage them to work together to fill gaps in the understanding necessary for a regulatory framework. Meanwhile, governance should become less fragmented to help speed up action against the environmental pressures on the region (see Nature 562, 163; 2018).

For example, regional actors could take immediate measures, as in the recent Central Arctic Ocean fisheries process that led to an effective precautionary agreement (see go.nature.com/2qfjnf2). Arctic coastal states should use the treaty process as a stimulus to maintain a robust stewardship by strengthening and harmonizing regional governance. Rapid, ambitious and concerted regional and international responses to sustainability challenges in the Arctic would inspire other regions where the impacts of climate change might not be so visible or imminent.

Nature 565, 161 (2019)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-00021-3

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