Skip to main content

The World Wide Fund for Nature and the Arctic

January 31, 2016


Marc-Andre Dubois, coordinator of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Arctic program engagement with international organizations, gave us a great insight into the working of the WWF and Arctic Council.  He started with a summary of what the WWF does in the Arctic, including climate, energy, finance, and governance.  He stressed that the organization believes that the people in the region have a right to develop, but that development should occur in an environmentally sound manner.  He said that the Arctic poses a unique conservation challenge because it is not about restoration of the natural environment, but rather about shaping the future change.  Because of this, he believes our work, as Arctic task force students, to critically analyze the workings of the Arctic Council and provide recommendations are essential.  Mr. Dubois continued by talking more explicitly about the Arctic Council.  He had a lot to say as he used to work in the Arctic Council Secretariat in Norway.  I learnt that the Arctic council is very successful at conducting research, but needs a better way to implement the findings at a regional level – a critical step for successful policy.

The meeting ended with a separate presentation by Dr. Melanie Lancaster, who gave us an overview of the key species that WWF deals with (polar bear, caribou, walrus, and ice-whales), what are their major stressors, and why it is important to help conserve their habitats.

Overall, this was a very interesting and engaging visit.  The two presenters were enthusiastic and passionate about the Arctic.  They both described a feeling of awe when they first travelled to the polar regions, which sparked within them the desire to conserve this unique and delicate environment.  The conversation with both presenters was dynamic and gave each of us a new idea on how the Arctic Council should evolve.  Above all, this visit helped me understand what are the critical areas for improvement in governance and policy implementation in the Arctic.

By: Danika Moore

This publication was made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.