Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy
The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy AEPS established in 1991 with the objectives to:
  • protect the Arctic ecosystems, including humans;
  • provide for the protection, enhancement and restoration of environmental quality and sustainable utilization of natural resources, including their use by local populations and indigenous peoples in the Arctic;
  • recognize and, to the extent possible, seek to accommodate the traditional and cultural needs, values and practices of indigenous peoples as determined by themselves, related to the protection of the Arctic environment;
  • review regularly the state of the Arctic environment; to identify, reduce and, as a final goal, eliminate pollution.

The five programmes established under the AEPS are:

  • Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) . An international organization established to implement components of the AEPS. AMAP has responsibilities to monitor the levels of, and assess the effects of, anthropogenic pollutants in all compartments of the Arctic environment, including humans. AMAP is now a programme group of the Arctic Council, and its current objective is "providing reliable and sufficient information on the status of, and threats to, the Arctic environment, and providing scientific advice on actions to be taken in order to support Arctic governments in their efforts to take remedial and preventive actions relating to contaminants".
  • Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). The Program for the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, under the AEPS, was established to address the special needs of Arctic species and their habitats in the rapidly developing Arctic region. CAFF has responsibilities to facilitate the exchange of information and coordination of research on species and habitats of Arctic flora and fauna.
  • Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR). Established as an experts forum to evaluate the adequacy of existing arrangements and to recommend the necessary system of cooperation. Has responsibilities to provide a framework for future cooperation in responding to the threat of Arctic environmental emergencies. The EPPR working group has among others developed an Arctic Guide for Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response, a Field Guide for Oil Spill Response in Arctic Waters, Arctic Offshore and Oil Guidelines, well as set of Circumpolar Maps of Resources at Risk from Oil Spills in the Arctic.
  • Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME). Addresses policy and non-emergency response measures related to protection of the marine environment from land-based and sea-based activities. PAME has responsibilities to take preventative and other measures, directly or through competent international organizations, regarding marine pollution in the Arctic, irrespective of origin.
  • Sustainable Development. The Working Group on Sustainable Development (SDWG) was established by Arctic Ministers in 1998. The objective is to protect and enhance the economies, culture and health of the inhabitants of the Arctic, in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Arctic Council
The Arctic Council was established in 1996 in Ottawa, Canada. A high level intergovernmental forum, the Council provides a mechanism to address the common concerns and challenges faced by the Arctic governments and the people of the Arctic. The members of the Council are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States of America. The main activities of the Council focus on the protection of the Arctic environment and sustainable development as a means of improving the economic, social and cultural well-being of the north. At the AEPS Ministerial meeting in 1997, the existing working groups of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy (AEPS) were integrated within the Council.

Barents Euro-Arctic Council
The Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) is the forum for intergovernmental co-operation in the Barents Region with seven participants: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the European Commission. Nine other countries are observers: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom, and the USA. The BEAC was established in 1993 "to support and promote regional co-operation in the northernmost parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland and northwest Russia.

The BEAC should encourage sustainable economic and social development in the Barents Region and thus contribute to peaceful development in the northernmost part of Europe". The activities of the BEAC have successively expanded to include a number of working areas. Working groups with representatives from the countries concerned, have been established to deepen co-operation on issues relevant to the Barents Region. The working groups consists of national or regional officials and experts.  Some working groups have also created expert Task Forces. There are working groups on Economic Co-operation, Energy, Environment, Exchanges, Health, Northern Sea Route, Transport, Youth, and Barents rescue. The present priorities of the working group on environment are energy efficiency, sustainable forestry/forest management, nature protection/biodiversity conservation, industrial pollution, cleaner production, integration of environmental concerns in economic sectors, and strengthening of local actions.

Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control
The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control consists of 19 participating maritime administrations and covers the waters of the European coastal states and the North Atlantic basin from North America to Europe. It aims at eliminating the operation of sub-standard ships through a harmonized system of port state control. Annually, over 18,000 inspections take place on board foreign ships in the Paris MoU ports, ensuring that these ships meet international safety and environmental standards, and that crew members have adequate living and working conditions. See, for example, a list of banned ships (ships that jump detention or fail to call at an indicated repair yard are banned: these ships will be refused access to any port in the region of the MoU), as well as a list with photos of number of rustbucket vessels. Similar MoUs have been developed for the Mediterranean, Asia (the Tokyo MoU), Latin America (the Vina del Mar MoU), and Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean MoU).

OSPAR Convention • OSPAR Commission
The 1992 Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of North-East Atlantic (including part of the Arctic) — OSPAR Convention — replaced the 1972 Oslo Convention (pollution by dumping) and the 1974 Paris Convention (pollution from land-based sources). The OSPAR Convention requires that Contracting Parties 'shall take all possible steps to prevent and eliminate pollution and shall take the necessary measures to protect the maritime area against the adverse effects of human activities so as to safeguard human health and to conserve marine ecosystems and, when practicable, restore marine areas which have been adversely affected.' The detailed provisions for controlling pollution from different sources and protecting ecosystems and biodiversity are set out in the five annexes to the Convention. OSPAR Annex III - on the prevention and elimination of pollution from offshore sources. OSPAR's Offshore Oil and Gas Industry Strategy.

The OSPAR Quality Status Report - OSPAR QSR published in 2000 is the assessment by the OSPAR Commission of the environmental quality of the North-East Atlantic. The QSR 2000 is based on five reports (regional QSRs) prepared for the Arctic Waters, the Greater North Sea, the Celtic Seas, the Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast, and the Wider Atlantic.

The OSPAR Commission is the Executive body of the Convention. At the 1998 Ministerial Meeting of the OSPAR Commission, the Ministers adopted the Sintra Statement setting out the political impetus for future action by the Commission. It includes a section related to the environmental impacts of shipping stating, inter alia, that
the OSPAR countries will co-operate especially in the work of the International Maritime Organization, to tackle threats to the marine environment from shipping through promoting better waste reception facilities and their more effective use including harmonised arrangements to remove economic, administrative or organisational incentives for ships not to use port waste reception facilities.

EU Northern Dimension
The Northern Dimension is "the external and cross-border policies of the European Union covers the Baltic Sea region, Arctic Sea region and North West Russia. It addresses the specific challenges of those regions and aims to increase cooperation between the EU member states, the EU applicant countries and Russia. The Northern Dimension is implemented within the framework of the Europe Agreements with the Baltic States, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Russia and the European Economic Area regulations. The areas for cooperation under the Northern Dimension are the environment, nuclear safety, energy cooperation, Kaliningrad, infrastructure, business cooperation, Justice and Home Affairs, social development and others. " The Northern Dimension "aims to intensify cross border cooperation between the EU and its neighbouring countries and regions in northern Europe. It aims to create security and stability in the region, as well as building a safe, clean and accessible environment for all people in the north".

The Northern Dimension is a common undertaking of the European Communities and the EU Member States together with partner countries. The Commission plays a leading role in implementing the Action Plan. The main regional organization and IFIs active in supporting the Northern Dimension are the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), the Barents Euro Arctic Council (BEAC), the Arctic Council (AC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB), the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO), and the Nordic Project Fund (NOPEF).

UN Economic Commission for Europe, UNECE
The primary goal of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is to encourage greater economic cooperation among its member States. It focuses on economic analysis, environment and human settlements, statistics, sustainable energy, trade, industry and enterprise development, timber and transport. UNECE activities include policy analysis, development of conventions, regulations and standards, and technical assistance. It has 55 member States, and over 70 international professional organizations and other non-governmental organizations take part in UNECE activities. The UNECE provides the Secretariat for several environmental conventions, including the Convention of the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (see more on the UNECE Environment and Human Settlements Division).

UNEP Regional Office for Europe
UNEP's Regional Office for Europe promotes intergovernmental policy dialogue and regional cooperation, increases national capacity for environmental management and response emergencies, raises awareness and enhances information exchange, and translates global policies into regional action.