PDF versionResources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic

Issue #2
WELCOME to the second issue of the ReSDA newsletter. Regular newsletters will provide program details as well as current information on the research and activities of this network. We can provide an electronic version and/or 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 email vwalker@yukoncollege.yk.ca.This issue provides an update of the recent activities of the network, highlighting some of the ReSDA students and research projects underway. It includes highlights from the 2012 Annual ReSDA workshop in Whitehorse and the plans for next phase of research. We want to thank all of the people who participated in the Whitehorse workshop. The insights and recommendations provided are a key contribution to the effectiveness and success of the work of ReSDA and help to establish the future directions for the network. We want to continue to communicate with northern people, communities and researchers and we welcome your feedback and suggestions at any time.Following the Second Annual ReSDA Workshop in Whitehorse in November 2012, the ReSDA Management Committee began the process of establishing the research priorities for the next couple of years. These priorities were established through the review of the gap analysis presentations, summaries, discussions and key points from the workshop. The ReSDA research priorities have been posted on the ReSDA website. A key focus will be the development of a ReSDA research Atlas to begin the process of connecting research and information across the Circumpolar North. The application details and forms for ReSDA funding to support these subproject priorities can be downloaded from the Subproject section of our website.One of the key areas discussed at the 2012 workshop was the need to focus on determining the most effective communications and knowledge sharing practices in the North. To this end the next annual ReSDA workshop, this October in Iqaluit, will focus on the topic of knowledge sharing. From this workshop ReSDA will build a knowledge sharing strategy and a toolkit to support and enhance the communication and engagement of northern people and communities in this work.CONTENTS

Director’s report

As a research project ReSDA has a simple and straightforward objective – to find ways to ensure that more benefits from resource development flow to northern communities and that negative impacts are eliminated, or, at the very least, mitigated. To achieve this task with the relatively limited resources available, the Steering Committee decided it was wise to undertake the program in phases. Building on the work done for the initial ReSDA proposal, during Phase 1 we looked at previous research and the needs of northern partners to determine the critical gaps and issues that ReSDA should address first. This gap analysis involved over 20 ReSDA researchers and feedback from northern partners at our Whitehorse workshop and elsewhere. Together we produced a list of potential research questions that we think can move us forward towards more sustainable resource development in the Arctic.

A common thread in most of the gap analyses was the need to provide information to northerners on how resource development conditions, impacts, and benefits vary across the Circumpolar North and elsewhere in the world. In other words, there is a need to make available to communities a range of information and data concerning resource development that would allow them to understand their particular situation and how it might be similar and different to others in the circumpolar world. It was clear in our Whitehorse workshop that there is a lot of valuable “lessons learned” that need to be better shared with those who are at the frontlines of coping with resource development and its social, economic and cultural effects.

Strengthened by the hard work and participation of the researchers and community partners involved in ReSDA, we are undertaking a second phase of our research in 2013/2014 (Phase 2) which will involve funding new research projects, each with a strong emphasis on knowledge sharing with communities, governments and organizations.

The ReSDA Atlas of Arctic Resource Development

There are many ways to communicate research in northern communities. Although workshops with face-to-face communication are a strong focus in ReSDA, we also need to find ways to share information more quickly and cost effectively. One effective way is to use the internet and develop an information sharing page, often referred to as an “atlas.” The objective of the “Atlas of Arctic Resource Development” would be to gather and analyze information on conditions, impacts, and benefits and make that information publically available through our website. The ReSDA Atlas of Arctic Resource Development would be a virtual “one-stop” place for access to information on how resource development conditions vary across the North. Using an interactive map as a base we are hoping to include stories from communities, videos and audio clips from partners and participants, raw data for use by other researchers and guidebooks for communities, organizations and governments seeking more “how to” information. More information on the proposed content of the Atlas can be found on the ReSDA website.

Research Projects (Subprojects)
Read More

Student profiles

Theme 1 – Sustainable Regions
David Muddiman, Carleton University

David joined RESDA in September 2012, working with Frances Abele on the “Sustainable Regions” research theme. As a graduate student in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, David’s research in the Innovation, Science, and Environment program concentration has frequently focused on Arctic policy. Since joining the school in 2011, David has written papers on northern devolution, oil and gas regulation in Nunavut and Greenland, Arctic science policy, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and the Baffinland Mary River Project. At Carleton he was also a senior editor for ISEMA: Perspectives on Innovation, Science, and Environment, a peer-reviewed, student-run journal published by the school.

In government, David has worked as a researcher for the Land Use Planning Division in the Northern Affairs Organization of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. He is currently working on contract with Environment Canada’s International Affairs Branch.

Since completing his Master of Arts in Public Administration in April 2013, David has continued his work in northern policy through RESDA and staying connected with other research activities going on at Carleton.

Josh Gladstone, Carleton University

Josh’s interest lies in understanding the changing relationships among the state, Indigenous peoples, and forms of capitalism under modern treaties in northern Canada, and in particular how people have experienced these changes over generations.

His dissertation research focuses on the idea of the Indigenous “mixed economy”: how it is lived, how it became influential as a way of identifying the diversity of economic forms and social systems that exist in many northern Indigenous communities, and how it has evolved more or less comfortably with state policies and structures. He is developing his research through work with the community of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

Meanwhile, Josh is working with his supervisor Dr. Frances Abele to prepare a paper exploring the role of corporate self-regulation in resource development decision-making processes under modern treaties.

Theme 2 – Sustainable Communities
Chris Jones, Lakehead University

Chris is currently completing his MA thesis titled: Mobile Miners: Long distance commuting among mining workers in Whitehorse. This project looks at the impact that rural mines in the Yukon have on their workers through long distance commuting operations (fly-in or drive-in). In February 2013 he conducted a small series of in-depth interviews with workers across a variety of backgrounds in Whitehorse, including women, aboriginals, youth, labourers, tradespeople, and managers. Some of the findings show a negative work environment for aboriginals, issues retaining and recruiting youth, aboriginals, and local workers, safety issues at mine sites, and stress for workers who travel to Yukon from outside the region.

Theme 3 – Sustainable Cultures
Kiri Staples, University of Saskatchewan

Gender and Participation in Natural Resource Management Decision Making in Yukon Territory

Kiri was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon. Her research interests began with her undergraduate studies in International Development where she also worked with both environmental and women’s rights NGO’s in Canada and East and West Africa. This began her interest in the topic of gender roles in natural resource management in Canada. This work will examine the role of gender in decision-making within natural resource development. Kiri’s study is highlighted as a research focus, later in this newsletter.

Theme 4 – Sustainable Environments
Cynthia Amati, University of Alberta (PhD Candidate in Environmental Sociology)

Global Citizenship in the Arctic

Mining and other extractive industries bring many kinds of economic opportunities to the North including opportunities for those from other countries. Although hiring of northerners is a priority for many industries and governments, in some regions, labor shortages and/or employment opportunities in both low-skilled and high-skilled occupations have led to federal policies that encourage in-migration from other parts of Canada and the globe. Consequently, many northern cities and small communities are increasingly multi-cultural with growing communities of Pilipino, Middle Eastern, African, Asian and European peoples. How are those from other countries coping in such a different kind of environment? This study was designed to find out more about new comers’ perceptions of the North and its influence on their cultural identities; new comers’ differences in the experience of men and women from different cultural backgrounds; and the significance of social connections (networks) in supporting adaptation to the North.

In the past year, Cynthia has started fieldwork in two regions (Northwest Territories and Yukon). To date, she has completed 40 interviews with individuals who have lived in the North less than 5 years. Preliminary analysis indicates that even though promising economic opportunities played a significant role in motivating the transnational move from various countries to the North, transnational families tended to, and preferred to live in the Territories long after economic rationale waned. This was reportedly due to deep connectedness to the open natural landscape, and the sense of community that they found and helped create in the North.

Gap Analysis Research Results

The Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic (ReSDA) research network hosted their second annual research workshop in Whitehorse, YT on November 21-23, 2012. This event brought together a wide range of representatives from various sectors. There were 76 participants that attended that included 18 university-based researchers, 5 graduate students and 52 representatives from Territorial and Federal government sectors, community organizations, First Nations and Inuit organizations, northern colleges and other interested individuals. This wide array of participants allowed for thought provoking and valuable discussions on the research topics and related issues of the ReSDA network directions. It was hoped that more community participants would be able to attend but due to the timing of the funding award many were not able to confirm attendance on the short notice provided.

The focus of this workshop was around the research results and discussions of fourteen gap analysis topics. These targeted areas examined what current research exists, what this research indicates in terms of benefits to northern communities and what might be missing for research in these areas. The intention of the workshop discussions was to formulate the future research directions of the ReSDA network to ensure that the work done is relevant, current and done using a cohesive framework. The gap analysis researchers examined the following areas:

  • History of resource developments in the Arctic
  • Impacts of resource developments on northern communities
  • Measurements of social and economic impacts of resource developments
  • Resource revenue regimes
  • Social, economic and environmental impact assessments
  • Regional economic development
  • Social dimensions of resource development and well being
  • Community-industry relations
  • Impact Benefit Agreements
  • Comprehensive land claims and resource development
  • Traditional knowledge and resource development
  • Resources and environmental issues
  • Climate change and implications for community, regions and resource developments
  • Women and northern resource development

More details and final workshop report

2012 Workshop highlights

Research presentations gap highlights:

  • aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities in the North
  • Impact Benefit Agreements (Negotiation and implementation; Effectiveness; Distribution models)
  • Impacts

* Local / indigenous cultures
* Education
* Employment (local skilled workers/aboriginal employment; Transiency / commuter workers / fly in-fly out workforce)

  • Structure and distribution of resource revenues
  • Social issues and impacts on well being (basic infrastructure; health; cultural considerations)
  • Gender issues

Panel discussion gap highlights

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Resource revenues and capacity building
  • Social Impacts (housing, work, crime, alcohol and drug abuse
  • Traditional lifestyles
  • IBA successes
  • Fly in—Fly out impacts
  • Land claims/devolution/implementation and self-government

More details and final workshop report

Research Feature

Gender and Decision-making in Natural Resource Management in the Yukon
Kiri Staples, University of Saskatchewan

Across the Canadian North, co-management boards have become a central part of natural resource management. The purpose of these institutions, based on agreements between Aboriginal, territorial and federal governments and natural resource users, is to manage human uses of natural resources in more sustainable ways by sharing responsibility for decision-making between a diverse range of interests. Despite this objective, a recent study found that in northern Canada, many of these boards have a limited number of female members. Of the 100 co-management board members currently in the Yukon Territory, only 18 are female (Natcher, 2013). In light of this condition, important questions emerge as to how effective these institutions are at involving women in natural resource management decision-making. This project will attempt to answer some of these questions.

This research aims to better understand the relationship between gender and decision-making within natural resource management. It will focus specifically on co-management boards with jurisdiction in the Yukon and will include those that operate at the community level (i.e. renewable resource councils) as well as those at the territorial and regional level (i.e. Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board). Through surveys and semi-structured interviews, the project will explore how male and female board members participate in decision-making and whether gender influences this process and its outcomes. Because there are so few women represented on co-management boards, it will focus on the experiences of female board members. However, it is important to recognize that “gender” involves both men and women, and discussions with male board members will be an important part of the project as well.

There are four questions that this research will ask:

a)      What are women’s past and current experiences in participating in decision-making on co-management boards in the Yukon? How do board members’ gender relate to effective participation and decision-making?
b)      Are there obstacles that women face in gaining voice in decision-making on co-management boards? If so, what are they and are they different from obstacles that male board members face? What strategies do board members use to overcome these obstacles?
c)       Are there ways that women influence natural resource decision-making outside of their position on co-management boards? If so, what are these ways of influencing decision-making and are they accessed by men as well?
d)      Have (a), (b) and (c) affected the decisions made by the co-management boards? If so, how?

The contribution that this project intends to make includes both academic and practical aspects of natural resource management. At an academic level, the project will begin to fill current gaps in knowledge around the role of gender within the natural resources sector, an area where only limited research has been done in the context of the Canadian North. It may also provide direction for future areas of research in the Yukon and other northern regions. At a practical level, this work has the potential to provide a better understanding of what board members think about effective decision-making. At the same time, it will attempt to highlight barriers to participation that board members, in particular female board members, experience within co-management boards. Finally, it aims to make recommendations on ways to make decision-making more effective, based on the experiences and perspectives of board members. Furthering our understanding of these issues related to natural resource management is particularly relevant given the rapidly changing social and biological environment of northern Canada.

Kiri Staples, MES Candidate
School of Environment and Sustainability
University of Saskatchewan
Tel. (867) 335-7838 or (306) 202-9950 

Supervisor/Principle Investigator: David Natcher
Tel. (306) 966-4045

International Research Feature

Workers on the move in extractive industries
Gertrude Eilmsteiner-Saxinger, University of Vienna

Extractive industry operations have been always connected to labour mobility: be it in-migration in mining towns or circular seasonal labour migration. For over thirty years, long-distance commute work (LDC) (such as fly-in/fly-out) has emerged as a key model of labour force provision for mining activities in remote regions. This is in particular the case in sparsely populated areas of the circumpolar north such as in Canada. This fact brings about high influx of qualified workers and engineers from southern urban agglomerations and challenges local participation in this labour market. Hence, mines are often located far away from towns in the north which requires also local population to commute and to stay on a rotational basis in camps for a week or two – or even longer.

These types of arrangements are often good for communities in that it isolates communities from many of the boom and bust problems associated with resource extraction. It is also bad in that by bringing in workers, communities don’t get the employment benefits that could help them become more sustainable. New arrangements are evident in the Arctic where it is workers from Arctic communities themselves that are now becoming “FIFO” workers. What does this mean for these communities?

Anthropologist Dr. Gerti Eilmsteiner-Saxinger of the University of Vienna has a long history of doing research in the Russian north in this field. For a number of years she has been looking at how workers and their families, as well as sending and receiving communities, cope with multi-local and mobile life-styles. She is also familiar with the effects of long distance commuting on local communities in Australia and Canada where a so called “shadow population” – the transient work force – makes up a high proportion of inhabitants.

She hopes to organize a ReSDA related project that will look at various types of Fly In/Fly Out worker programs to see what type of arrangement brings the most benefits to Arctic communities and causes the least problems.

ReSDA Research Funding Available—Call for Proposals

Funding is now available through the ReSDA network for research that addresses some of the priority areas that have been identified. The details of the priorities and funding application process are available on the ReSDA website. Applicants should discuss their project ideas with one of the theme coordinators before submitting a proposal.

Evaluation criteria for proposals include:

  1. Projects need to clearly show that the proposed research addresses the primary objective of the ReSDA project.
  2. Priority will be given to projects that are directly related to the research questions outlined in the ReSDA research proposal and/or those outlined in the gap analyses.
  3. Proposals should be developed in collaboration with regional/community partners.
  4. Proposals should have a plan to quickly transfer research results so that they can be put to use by communities.

If you have any questions about the research proposals and funding please contact Chris Southcott (csouthco@lakeheadu.ca) or Valoree Walker (vwalker@yukoncollege.yk.ca).

List of potential ReSDA research projects for 2013-2014

Upcoming Events

Third Annual ReSDA Workshop, 2013

Each year ReSDA organizes an annual research workshop that is based on a central theme. With a rotating location, they are planned to be held in a different northern centre each 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; the second was held in Whitehorse in November 2012 and focused on the gap analyses research.

The third annual workshop will be held October 8-10 in Iqaluit, NU and will focus on knowledge sharing with northern communities. Registration for the event can be found on the ReSDA website. We hope to see you there!
More Details

Meet the Nunavut Coordinator, Romani Makkik

Romani grew up in Igloolik, Nunavut, and currently lives in Iqaluit, NU. Much of her childhood was spent with her grandparents and her extended family during the camping and hunting season. After completing high-school, Romani attended the esteemed Nunavut Sivuniksavut Training Program (NS) in Ottawa, ON. Upon completion she returned to Nunavut and was employed with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association before moving into the government services. Most recently, Romani received her honors degree in Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University.

Romani began working as the ReSDA coordinator for Nunavut in May 2013 and would welcome the opportunity to share information on the ReSDA program and activities.

Contact Romani at:
Nunavut Research Institute
Nunavut Arctic College
Iqaluit, NU
Tel: 867-979-7282
Email: Romani.Makkik@arcticcollege.ca

Additional Information

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

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  • Check out our ReSDA Related News page
  • Email the ReSDA Coordination office at the Yukon Research Centre (vwalker@yukoncollege.yk.ca)

For more information about ReSDA visit our website.

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