Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Arctic Council Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group Hosts International Meeting in Bethel

August 23, 2017


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Officials from all Arctic nations, observer countries, and representatives from international organizations will converge in Bethel on September 6-7 for the first meeting of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council’s Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group. The Chairmanship is being coordinated by the Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"This will be a unique opportunity for community leaders to share their knowledge and experience living with, studying, and managing wildlife and landscapes in the Arctic, said Cynthia Jacobson, the United States’ Chair of the CAFF Working Group. “We’re pleased that these Alaskans will have the chance to engage with people from around the world interested in conservation in this special part of the world.”

The officials will discuss common issues like protecting Arctic migratory birds and their habitat, prevention of invasive species in the Arctic, understanding environmental changes that affect people’s way of life, and engaging youth such as Alaska’s Arctic Youth Ambassadors. The CAFF meetings are not open to the public, but community leaders have been invited to attend. Interviews with participants will be posted on the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Facebook page.

Jacobson will preside over the meeting, and has been working closely with the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), the Arctic Council Permanent Participant organization that represents the people of this region. The meeting will showcase the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta’s rich cultural heritage and abundance of natural resources. This is the first Arctic Council associated meeting held in Bethel.

Representatives with ICC said, “We are happy to see the CAFF Working Group hold meetings in Arctic Indigenous communities.”

The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among Arctic countries, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.

The work of the Arctic Council is primarily carried out in six Working Groups. One of these Working Groups, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group, or CAFF Working Group, addresses the conservation of Arctic biodiversity, working to ensure the sustainability of the Arctic’s living resources. The Chairmanship of the Arctic Council and the CAFF Working Group rotates every two years among the Arctic States. From May 2017 to May 2019, Finland is serving as the Chair of the Arctic Council and the United States is Chairing the CAFF Working Group.

The Board will meet next in Fairbanks, Alaska in early 2018.

For more information on the CAFF Working Group, please see

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