The Arctic remains one of Canada's last storehouses of natural resources. For many Canadians, the Arctic represents opportunity and potential welath. For those living there, however, the Arctic is home, and is viewed and experienced quite differently. Northerners are keenly aware of the enormous social, economic and enviornmental challenges facing their homeland, and for those living in Canadian Arctic communities, developing the capacity to meet these challenges is far more pressing than the exploitation of resources for the benefit of the rest of the country. Opposition between these apparently contrary visions, first identified in the Berger inquiry report of 1978 has tended to characterize the policy debates and development practices in the region. As a consequence, resource development has been slow, and a general mood of conflict has too often prevailed.
Pine Point Pit Lake
This research seeks to establish a new research network that will bring together researchers from a broad range of disciplines and organizations representing communities, government, the private sector and nonprofit organizations to conduct and mobilize research aimed at the sustainable development of Arctic natural resources in a manner that will improve the health and well-being of Canada's norther communities while preserving the region's unique environment.
The main focus of the research will be on finding ways to ensure that a larger share of the benefits of resource development stay in the region with fewer costs to communities. Researchers in various disciplines of the social sciences and humanities have been examining different aspects of development in the North in a variety of regions and contexts. Recent funding opportunities such as SSHRC's Northern Communities: Towards Social and Economic Prosperity program have increased the ability of researchers to examine these issues. The Network will mobilize this critical mass of research and researchers around the focused question of finding out how to minimize the social, economic, cultural and environmental costs.
In partnership, and with the substantial support, of a wide range of northern actors the Network will fund a series of research projects around the themes of sustainable regions, sustainable communities, sustainable cultures, and sustainable environments. They will measure and analyze the impacts of resource development and find ways of assisting Arctic communities to deal with these impacts through a range of new and innovative development and policy tools.
The potential exists for finding new ways of developing resources that will ensure greater benefits for and build capacity in these Northern communities. Rather than being something that threatens their vitality the development of natural resources can be done in a way that will ensure the long-term sustainability of northern communities.
Last update: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 8:03:24 PM
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