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The AMAP Programme

Monitoring and Assessment AMAP's Priority Issues AMAP's Monitoring Programme Monitoring Strategy and Harmonization AMAP Assessment Reports

Monitoring and Assessment

The AMAP is a process integrating both monitoring and assessment activities, in order to:

  • produce integrated assessment reports on the pollution status and trends of the conditions of Arctic ecosystems;
  • identify possible causes for changing conditions;
  • detect emerging problems, their possible causes, and the potential risk to Arctic ecosystems including indigenous peoples and other Arctic residents;
  • recommend actions required to reduce risks to Arctic ecosystems.

To prepare its assessments, AMAP:

  • designed and implemented a coordinated monitoring programme to monitor the levels of pollutants and assess the effects of pollution in all compartments of the Arctic environment (the atmospheric, terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments, and human populations);
  • instituted an assessment process to produce assessment reports. The AMAP assessments are performed according to agreed guidelines and are based on: (i) data already published in scientific literature, (ii) data obtained from AMAPís monitoring programme, and (iii) traditional knowledge.


AMAPís Priority Issues

AMAP's priorities include the following contaminant groups and issues:

  • Persistent organic contaminants (POPs)
  • Heavy metals (in particular mercury, cadmium, and lead)
  • Radioactivity
  • Acidification and Arctic haze (in a subregional context)
  • Petroleum hydrocarbon pollution (in a subregional context)
  • Climate change (environmental consequences and biological effects in the Arctic resulting from global climate change)
  • Stratospheric ozone depletion (biological effects due to increased UV-B, etc)
  • Effects of pollution on the health of humans living in the Arctic (including effects of increased UV radiation as a result of ozone depletion, and climate change)
  • Combined effects of pollutants and other stressors on both ecosystems and humans


AMAPís Monitoring Programme

The AMAP Trends and Effects Monitoring Programme is designed to monitor the levels of pollutants and their effects in all compartments of the Arctic environment. It defines five subprogrammes concerning the atmospheric, terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments, and human populations with respect to human health. The subprogrammes are defined in terms of essential and recommended parameters and media (matrices) to be monitored on a circumpolar or subregional level. The programme includes both monitoring and research components, and special studies that yield information that is vital for the valid interpretation of monitoring data.


Monitoring Strategy and Harmonization

The monitoring work within AMAP is based, as far as possible, on existing national and international monitoring and research programs, aiming to harmonize these to the extent possible. Each country defines its own National Implementation Plan (NIP) to meet the AMAP monitoring objectives. Monitoring projects are carried out within each of the participating countries and across borders under bilateral and multilateral cooperations. Efforts are made to harmonize existing and new programs with respect to methodologies and quality assurance.

An AMAP Project Directory of Arctic research and monitoring projects was compiled to describe the AMAP implementation plan activities and assist AMAP assessment experts in identification of data sources. This directory will be updated during the second half of 1999 to describe activities relevant to AMAP's future assessment work.


AMAP Assessment Reports

AMAP produces two types of Assessment reports:

  • The ĎAMAP Assessment Reportsí (AARs) are fully referenced, comprehensive, technical and scientifically presented assessment of all validated data on the status of the Arctic environment relative to the AMAP mandate. They constitutes the background material and provides the accessible scientific basis and validation for any statements made in the Ministerial (SOAER) reports
  • The 'State of the Arctic Environment Reports' (SOAERs) are more concise reports presenting the results of AMAP and its assessment, and including an executive summary with recommendations specifically addressed to Ministers.

The first AMAP assessment reports were produced in 1997, and a series of comprehensive updates produced in 2002.

A regional environmental assessment involves Ďcompilation of current knowledge about a specific area, an evaluation of this information in relation to agreed criteria of environmental quality, and a statement of the prevailing conditions in the areaí. AMAP recognizes that a considerable amount of data and information already exist and should be taken into account in the AMAP assessment.

Comprehensive assessments of regional areas are useful to both managers and scientists in:

  • providing a concise summary of contemporary knowledge and necessary management action;
  • enabling the identification of significant gaps in knowledge and, accordingly, providing an authoritative basis for defining priorities for future scientific and other investigations;
  • providing a basis for judging the effectiveness and adequacy of environmental protection measures and for making necessary adjustments.
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© AMAP Secretariat, 2003