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The challenges of marine spatial planning in the Arctic: Results from the ACCESS programme

Edwards, Rosemary, Evans, Alan
Ambio 2017 v.46 no.Supplement 3 pp. 486-496
climate change, ecosystems, environmental impact, fisheries, governance, humans, planning, politics, shipping, Arctic region
Marine spatial planning is increasingly used to manage the demands on marine areas, both spatially and temporally, where several different users may compete for resources or space, to ensure that development is as sustainable as possible. Diminishing sea-ice coverage in the Arctic will allow for potential increases in economic exploitation, and failure to plan for cross-sectoral management could have negative economic and environmental results. During the ACCESS programme, a marine spatial planning tool was developed for the Arctic, enabling the integrated study of human activities related to hydrocarbon exploitation, shipping and fisheries, and the possible environmental impacts, within the context of the next 30 years of climate change. In addition to areas under national jurisdiction, the Arctic Ocean contains a large area of high seas. Resources and ecosystems extend across political boundaries. We use three examples to highlight the need for transboundary planning and governance to be developed at a regional level.