Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment
The Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME) is a subdivision of the Arctic Council. It is one of the six working groups that comprises the Council.
PAME was founded as part of the 1991 Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy and its work continued by the 1996 Ottawa Charter that also established the Arctic Council. PAME's headquarters are located in Akureyri, Iceland.
PAME deals with all Arctic Council activities that are related to the sustainable development of the Arctic region and the protection of the environment. It monitors the evolution of global and regional policies concerning the Arctic and the growth of traffic in the region. Where necessary, it makes recommendations for improvements. PAME works on projects that are approved every two years by the Arctic Council. These include polar action programmes and guidelines to make companies and nations worldwide aware of the possible consequences of their land or sea-based activities on the vulnerable Arctic marine environment.
In 2009 the working group released a major report on Arctic marine shipping, the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, which analyses current and future trends in Arctic transport. PAME was asked to conduct this research after the 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment had concluded that "Reduced sea ice is very likely to increase marine transport and access to resources".
PAME's objectives were outlined in a 2009 meeting:
- Improve knowledge and respond to emerging knowledge of the Arctic Marine Environment.
- Determine the adequacy of applicable international/regional commitments and promote their implementation and compliance.
- Facilitate partnerships, programme and technical cooperation and support communication, reporting and outreach both within and outside the Arctic Council.