Declaration for polar bear protection signed

Declaration for polar bear protection signed

5 December 2013

On 4 December, the ministers of five Arctic countries – Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway, and Denmark (Greenland) – signed a joint Declaration for Polar Bear Protection as part of the International Forum on Polar Bear Conservation.


“We intend to achieve the effective conservation and management of polar bear populations throughout their habitat and urge the international community to join us in conserving this common and globally significant species,” Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi said. “This document defines the future ways and approaches for effective conservation and management of its populations.”


“This document defines the main threats to polar bear populations, including changes in the sea ice habitat due to rapid Arctic warming, habitat destruction, over-exploitation, pollution of the Arctic environment and other human impacts,” the Russian minister noted. “It also establishes the need for comprehensive,  coordinated monitoring and research of the complex threats confronting polar bears, as well as for the implementation of existing global and regional obligations.”


According to the declaration, it is of great importance to continue the international cooperation on the protection of polar bears and the coordination of the Arctic states’ efforts. “The importance of actions taken by countries at the national level, based on  national action plans for the conservation of polar bears and reinforced by the participation of the indigenous people of the Arctic Region, as well as the contribution of other concerned parties, including the international community, the private sector, and non-governmental and other organisations has been noted,” Mr Donskoi said.


According to him, in approving the declaration, the ministers assumed responsibility to implement a series of measures for the conservation of polar bears. In particular, at the next meeting, it is necessary to finalise and approve the Circumpolar Action Plan for the conservation of polar bears as a necessary mechanism for international cooperation in managing and reducing the impacts on polar bears and their habitats in keeping with the 1973 Agreement.


“We should continue to cooperate in order to solve the conflicts between humans and polar bears, including by using a database to record such incidents, and to ensure the preservation of sufficient habitats for polar bears,” the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment said.


Mr Donskoi stressed that an important measure to protect this species was the development of strategy for fighting thepoaching and illegal trade of polar bears and their parts, including strengthening the cooperation between law enforcement bodies at the national, regional and global levels.

The declaration stipulates finding additional financial resources for the implementation of national action plans for the conservation and management of polar bear populations, including through partnerships with business, the private sector, international financial organisations, foundations, non-governmental organisations and other sources.


(Photo © by Viktor Nikiforov)