IUCN/Polar Bear Specialist Group 17th meeting

PBSG members in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA, in June 2014

The PBSG had an another intersessional members-only meeting in Fort Collins, USA, in June 2014, to continue discussions about the group's future in light of the increasing work load related to its role as independent scientific advisers to the five polar bear Range States, or Parties to the 1973 Agreement. There were no invited specialists, except for three climate scientists (Mark Serreze, Marika Holland and Jennifer Kay), who were invited to perform half-a-day of climate change update, Nikita Platonov, who were invited to present results from recent studies conducted in the Russian Arctic, and IUCN/SSC chair Simon Stuart and Dena Cator from IUCN Global Species Programme.

The main aim of the meeting was to agree on a set of Terms of Reference for the group, and to discuss internal matters crucial for the future functioning and capacity of the group.

One important issue was to discuss the challenge put forward by the Parties in the Declaration from the Meeting of the Parties in Moscow in December 2013, where the PBSG was "encouraged" to "determine how to best use Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) together with scientific approaches and analyses of polar bear population status for more effective decision-making and consider their recommendation at the 2015 regular meeting of the range states". This was discussed at length and the group agreed on a statement on TEK.

Here are minutes and resolutions from the meeting.