The Arctic remains one of Canada’s last storehouses of natural resources. For many Canadians, the Arctic represents opportunity and potential wealth. 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 environmental challenges facing their homeland. For those living in Canadian Arctic communities, the development of capacity in order to meet these challenges is far more pressing than the exploitation of resources for the benefit of the rest of the country.The vibrancy of northern communities plays a central role in ReSDA’s research projects.
The main focus of the research will be on findings ways of ensuring that a larger share of the benefits of resource development stays 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 the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC)’s “Northern Communities: Towards Social and Economic Prosperity” program, have increased the ability of researchers to examine these issues. ReSDA 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, ReSDA will fund a series of research projects around the themes of sustainable regions, sustainable communities, sustainable cultures, and sustainable environments. 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 communities’ vitality, the development of natural resources can be done in a way that will ensure the long-term sustainability of northern communities.
The SSHRC funded program began in March, 2011 and is planned to continue operations for the 7 years of the grant period.
- Cultivate innovative approaches to research on Arctic sustainable resource development;
- Connect researchers, community and Aboriginal organizations, governments, and the private sector partners together to create new common communities of interest related to maximizing resource development benefits for northern communities;
- Assist in the development of human resources in the Canadian Arctic by providing training in the skill sets necessary to enable local residents to benefit from employment opportunities in resource development;
- Stimulate the development of new knowledge transfer techniques that will allow research results to be more readily utilized by actors in the region; and
- Position Canada as a world leader in supporting research that deals with environmentally and socially sustainable resource development that maximizes benefits to local communities