The Arctic is vital to the Earth’s cooling system and its environment is unique and fragile. Arctic marine and terrestrial ecosystems provide a variety of ecosystem services which are of fundamental importance to the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.  However, the image of a frozen, timeless Arctic is being dramatically altered by each new scientific study, replaced by a new reality of rapid change. Governments are staking their claims to the offshore at the same time as industry begins to focus on the economic opportunities that come with an ice-free Arctic. More than ever before, the Arctic is on the geopolitical agenda.

Non-governmental organizations are looking at what this change means for Arctic biodiversity, peoples and the ecosystems that support them. However, few mechanisms exist for NGOs concerned with Arctic environmental issues to get together, exchange ideas and perspectives and develop common strategies to influence policy makers.

Promoting cooperation and influencing policy-making

The Forum will contribute to the elaboration of policies that support the sustainable development of the Arctic. These policies may be national, regional or circumpolar. The Forum has a role to play in directing attention to areas of common interest, raising awareness, and providing expert opinion on emerging issues.

NGO access to policy makers

The creation of a regular platform for dialogue will give NGOs a new possibility to strengthen their position and speak directly to policy makers.

The Forum will meet twice a year over the next three years. The first meeting took place in January 2012 in Arendal, Norway, during which the key issues were identified to work on over the next three years.

The European Commission Directorate General for the Environment is providing initial funding for three years to help establish the Forum and to attract wider funding support.  Co-ordinated by UNEP/GRID-Arendal and Ecorys, the Arctic NGO forum will allow Civil Society organizations to develop ideas and provide advice to the global Arctic community. 

IntroductionAbout the Forum
Forum GoalsPromoting cooperation and influencing policy-making
Forum FacilitatorsExperts from GRID-Arendal & ECORYS
ContactGet in touch with us