2012

Newsletter 1
PDF version  Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic
Issue #1 Fall 2012
Welcome to the first edition of the ReSDA Newsletter. Regular newsletters will provide program details as well as current information on the research and activities of this research network. We can provide an electronic version and/or a print version, both of which will also be available on our website at http://yukonresearch.yukoncollege.yk.ca/resda/outreach/newsletters/. To contribute or subscribe to this newsletter e-mail vwalker@yukoncollege.yk.ca.CONTENTS

Message From the ReSDA Research Director

In this first newsletter for ReSDA I want to thank all of the researchers and community partners who helped create ReSDA and helped us obtain funding. I also want to thank all those northerners who participated in a series of social economy workshops in all regions of the Canadian north from 2007 until 2010. It was from these workshops that the idea for ReSDA came into being. In all of these workshops community activists talked about the need for research into ways of using the natural resources in a way that could help improve life in the North.

Much has happened since ReSDA came into being on April 1 2011. The logistics of setting up the largest social science research network in the North has been time consuming but is almost finished. The main coordination office is now established at the Yukon Research Centre in Whitehorse and is headed up by Val Walker. We are close to setting up the regional coordination offices in Iqaluit, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Kuujjuaq, and Inuvik. Our funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation has recently been released and we are in the process of purchasing equipment for our Northern social science labs.

More Details

Comments from the Coordinator

As the Coordinator for the ReSDA network I look forward the next 6 years of research with new partnerships and projects developing. The Network has a solid base to build on from having established a strong research presence in the North through the Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada. With a broader list of researchers and northern expertise we see even greater potential for building the social sciences research capacity in the North. The Northern coordination offices are in the process of being established and will serve as the central point of contact for community groups, government sectors and researchers to help facilitate collaborative research arrangements that meet the needs of all those involved. As part of our work we will ensure that research activities are communicated throughout the North and that communities are able to participate effectively in the program. We want to engage communities in a meaningful manner and ensure that they have a voice in the process. I would appreciate feedback from all those interested in this research Network. Let us know how we might support communities and keep people informed and involved!

About the Coordinator

Valoree is a long term northern resident having grown up in Cambridge Bay and Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Alberta she returned   North where she worked at the Aurora Research Institute in Inuvik, NT as the Manager of Scientific Services and then as Director of the Institute. Moving to Whitehorse, YT in 2002 Valoree has been working at Yukon College in the research section for the last 9 years. This includes her previous role as the SERNNoCa coordinator and her current position as the ReSDA coordinator.

Contact Valoree Walker at vwalker@yukoncollege.yk.ca

Introduction to ReSDA

ReSDA is a SSHRC funded Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) that has brought together a broad range of disciplines and organizations representing universities, colleges, communities, government, the private sector and non-profits in northern Canada and other Circumpolar countries. This northern social science research network will examine ways to ensure that a larger share of benefits of resource developments stay in the region with fewer costs to communities. This network began April 1, 2011 and has research funding for 7 years of operation. The overall intention of this research is to determine ways that sustainable resource developments in the Arctic are able to improve the health and well being of Canada’s northern communities while preserving the region’s unique environment.

In partnership, and with substantial support from a wide range of northern actors the Network will contribute funding to 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.

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Structure of ReSDA

ReSDA builds on several existing networks and partnerships.  Foundational to ReSDA are the networking and partnership model established by the Social Economy Research Network for Northern Canada (SERNNoCa). A main coordination office will be located at the Yukon Research Centre at Yukon College with regional offices established at the Aurora Research Institute in the Northwest Territories, the Nunavut Research Institute, the Nunavik Research Centre at Makivik and the Labrador Institute.

ReSDA is governed  by a Network Steering Committee composed of 11 voting members. This includes the Principal Investigator (PI), the other three Theme Coordinators, one of the ReSDA researchers elected for a 2 year period and 5 representatives of the partner institutions representing the 5 regions of the Canadian North as well as one other partner.  The partner institutions include the Yukon Research Centre (formerly the Northern Research Institute), the Aurora Research Institute, the Nunavut Research Institute, Makivik Corporation, and the Labrador Institute. The Network Steering Committee will be assisted by the Network Management Committee composed of the PI, 3 Theme Coordinators and the ReSDA coordinator . This committee deals with the day to day management of ReSDA .

 More Details

Meet the Theme Coordinators

Theme 1 (Sustainable Regions) – Frances Abele, Carleton University

Frances Abele had written widely on Canadian public policy and the northern political economy, with a northern career stretching back thirty years. She has worked in partnership with northern organizations in Canada and abroad, ranging from the North-West Academy of Public Administration, Murmansk, Russia to community governments in Canada, where she currently collaborates with the Hamlet of Igloolik and community partners in Deline. More Details

Theme 2 (Sustainable Communities) – Chris Southcott, Lakehead University

In addition to being the Theme 2 Coordinator, Chris Southcott is also ReSDA’s Principal Investigator. His work has focused on social and economic change in Northern Canada and the rest of the circumpolar world, leading several major Canadian and international research initiatives. Recently he co-edited the first ever work to analyze the effects of globalization on Arctic communities (Heininen and Southcott, 2010) and the first ever work on migration in the Circumpolar North (Huskey and Southcott, 2010). More Details

Theme 3 (Sustainable Cultures) – David Natcher, University of Saskatchewan

The Theme 3 Coordinator is widely consulted on issues of Indigenous land use, harvesting and the mixed economy, with projects ranging from Labrador to northern Yukon. David Natcher was previously the holder of the Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies at Memorial University, and is now Associate Professor and Director of the Indigenous Land Management Institute at the University of Saskatchewan. More Details

Theme 4 (Sustainable Environments) – Brenda Parlee, University of Alberta

Brenda Parlee’s research interests have led to the examination of the kinds of knowledge, practices and institutions that are important to the resilience of northern communities. Research projects have included impacts and responses of Aboriginal peoples to such issues as the cumulative effects of natural resource development. Current projects include mining and community well-being, the importance of caribou in the diets of selected northern communities, and the northern social economy, among others. Parlee is an active and engaged community researcher and the Canada Research Chair in Social Responses to Ecological Changes. More Details

ReSDA Partners and Collaborators

A central component of the ReSDA program operations is the wide scope of researchers and institutions involved. This brings together experiences and knowledge from a range of disciplines and countries. With representatives from around the Circumpolar North, including the United States, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Greenland, Iceland and Russia, researchers will have the opportunity to share information and compare results. As research projects develop, this will contribute to a more well-rounded understanding of the Arctic context.

Click here to view a map of partner and participating institutions across the Circumpolar North

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First Steps for Research: Gap Analysis

Following the discussions from the first annual research workshop in Yellowknife, NT in November 2011, the ReSDA research theme coordinators reviewed the presentations and developed a draft research plan to guide the work of ReSDA for the next year. The emphasis has been on isolating those main areas that are required for a gap analysis. There are 13 areas that have been identified. These are listed with a short description on the ReSDA website. This initial work should result in a fairly significant analysis of the state of affairs of resource development and northern communities. Researchers and partners may submit comments to help refine these research areas. The Steering Committee has agreed to prioritize this work for this year. Specific research subprojects, such as those mentioned in the research proposal will be the focus following the initial gap analysis.

There are 13 areas identified that the proposed gap analysis literature reviews will deal with. Papers will identify all of the major works in a specific area and describe the main lines of investigation and any debates. They will also highlight gaps in knowledge and propose directions for future research.

The gap analysis papers will have two purposes:

  1. they will guide research planning for subsequent years of ReSDA; and
  2. they will be published, in shortened version, in a State of the Art edited collection

More Details

Feature Research Project

Measuring the social and economic impacts of oil and gas developments: Baseline data research in the Inuvialuit region

In the initial stages of ReSDA one of the main types of research questions to be examined is effective mechanisms to measure the impact of resource development on Arctic communities. This objective links to the work of previous initiatives such as Arctic Observing Network – Social Indicators (AON-SI) and the Arctic Social Indicators (ASI) project which attempt to find a series of indicators that would allow for an evaluation of impacts of social change in general.  Building on the work of these earlier initiatives, one of the first areas that ReSDA is supporting is an attempt to respond to one of the main conclusions of the ASI project: the need for in depth case studies of the practical development and use of baseline indicators to measure social change in the North. Working with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC), ReSDA researchers will examine a range of baseline indicators including a series of in-house ICR research initiatives, in an attempt to develop a series of practical indicators to measure resource development impacts.

Through in-house research the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) has accumulated a considerable amount of social, cultural and economic data that can be used to measure the impacts of oil and gas spending in the region from 1999 to 2009 (Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Indicators Research Project). The IRC continues to use this data to measure social, cultural and economic conditions and resource development impacts and is making this data available to researchers working with the Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic (ReSDA) project. The IRC will work with these researchers in their attempts to develop reliable baseline indicators to measure social change in areas affected by natural resource development. The research will establish standards to measure resource development impacts in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, and may be used by other Arctic jurisdictions.

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Second Annual ReSDA Workshop

Each year ReSDA will organize an annual research workshop based on a central theme. With a rotating location, they will be held in a different northern community every year. The first of these was held in November 2011 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and was devoted to the discussion of a research plan for the next seven years. In light of the research plan that developed out of this event, the next workshop will focus on presenting information from the initial stages of gap analysis research. It will be held in Whitehorse, Yukon on November 22-23, 2012.

Registration for this event can be found on the ReSDA website.

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Outreach Strategy

ReSDA will stress the transfer of knowledge gained from its activities to users. It will put in place an outreach strategy that concentrates on the dissemination of information to northern communities, but will also place Canadian researchers in a position to collaborate with others at the forefront of international research on resource development impacts.   The plan will be organized around three main audiences: northern communities, policy makers and industry, and the research community, each with several components.

More Details

How to stay connected with ReSDA:

Additional Information

For more information about ReSDA visit our website

We welcome comments about the publication, about items we have included, or suggestions for features or items we should include. Send correspondence to Valoree Walker at vwalker@yukoncollege.yk.ca or call her at 867-668-8857.

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