AMAPs original mandate identified priority issues such as persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, radioactivity and human health that were to be addressed on a circum-Arctic basis, and issues such as oil and gas pollution, impacts of acidifying gases and Arctic haze, and stratospheric ozone and UV-B that had a more subregional Arctic context.

Subsequent decisions by Ministers and their SAOs extended AMAPs mandate in a number of respects - to cover new contaminant related issues such as combined effects of contaminants on human health but in particular extending it to cover trends and effects associated with global and Arctic climate change. Much of AMAPs current work has focussed on issues such as Arctic cryospheric change, Arctic Ocean acidification, and impacts of short-lived climate forcers (black carbon, tropospheric ozone and methane) on Arctic climate.

Increasingly, AMAP is also being requested to include socio-economic aspects in its assessment work, and to consider the integrated effects of multiple drivers of change. To address these new demands, AMAP is engaging in collaborations with other relevant groups, both Arctic Council groups and external partners (such as WMO and IASC) so that it can continue to deliver high-quality assessments that answer the needs of policy-makers.