A Bird’s-Eye View of Arctic Governance: Reflecting on the Role of International Law in Arctic Cooperation from a Bird Conservation Perspective

In: The Yearbook of Polar Law Online


This article discusses the role of international law in environmental governance in the Arctic. It does so from the perspective of bird conservation. Challenges in the latter field are introduced, including the impact of climate change on Arctic bird habitats and the incidental mortality of seabirds in Arctic fisheries. The ability of the current international legal framework in the Arctic to meet these challenges is scrutinised, and future scenarios for its enhancement are explored, including the conclusion of (a) new legally binding agreement(s). Five species receive particular attention as part of this exercise: gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), ivory gull (Pagophila eburnea), spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus), Kittlitz’s murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) and Brünnich’s guillemot (Uria lomvia). Special attention is also devoted to the issue of seabird bycatch.

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