The SDWG focuses on projects that address the human dimensions of the Arctic. In accordance with recommendations from the Integrating Traditional and Local Knowledge (TLK) initiative, the SDWG adopted a Revised Project Proposal Template that incorporates TLK. All new SDWG projects and initiatives under the U.S. Chairmanship (2015-2017) were developed using this Revised Project Proposal Template.
Please click on the following project titles to view more information:
Finland is the lead country for the SDWG’s Arctic EIA project (2017-2019). Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark and the Gwich’in Council International (GCI) are co-leads. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a procedure for assessing beforehand the impacts of large-scale projects on the environment and the people potentially affected by the projects. It is aimed at preventing and mitigating adverse impacts by identifying impacts in the early stages of planning and decision-making. EIA is in use in all of the Arctic countries. The Arctic EIA project intends to provide an Arctic-specific EIA tool that can be applied in the vulnerable and changing Arctic environment, taking into account the indigenous peoples and other inhabitants living there. It aims to make the Arctic matter in project planning. Mapping good practices, sharing experiences, learning from each other and creating solutions together form the core of the project. For more information, please visit our Arctic EIA webpage, or CLICK HERE to download the September 2017 Newsletter on the Arctic EIA project.
The Arctic Energy Summit 2015 facilitated an exchange of knowledge designed to improve relationships between the many stakeholders who live and work in the Arctic, and to lead to wise and sustainable development of Arctic energy resources in order to strengthen the environmental, economic and social conditions of Arctic communities. The Arctic Energy Summit 2015 was a natural expansion of the Arctic Council’s initial Arctic Energy Summit held in Anchorage, Alaska in October 2007. The 2015 Arctic Energy Summit is directly related to identified thematic areas of interest for both the U.S. Chairmanship and the SDWG Work Plan. Two of six SDWG priority thematic areas are engaged, namely Energy and Arctic Communities and Management of Natural Resources. The Arctic Energy Summit 2015 was held in Fairbanks on 28-30 September 2015. An executive summary and final report of the will be posted on this website once available.
This project on Arctic Indigenous Youth, Climate Change and Food Culture (EALLU) seeks to maintain and further develop a sustainable and resilient reindeer husbandry in the Arctic in face of climate change and globalization, while working towards a vision of creating a better life for circumpolar reindeer herders. Sub-goals of the project include:
- To build awareness of Arctic climate change in northern indigenous youth societies, through enhanced resilience;
- To document, systematize, make use of and respect the Traditional Knowledge of food cultures of Arctic indigenous/reindeer herding peoples;
- To work towards knowledge building and experience exchange in and between local indigenous/reindeer herding societies in the Arctic, focusing on food culture and youth;
- To increase focus on and understanding of Arctic indigenous food cultures and value added, by disseminating and giving a voice to the Traditional Knowledge and food cultures of Arctic indigenous peoples, including by use of ReindeerPortal.org and ArcticPortal.org;
- To stimulate knowledge development for innovation, business development and local value added in Arctic indigenous peoples´ societies and areas, in appropriate ways, working in the intersection between academia and business, between science and traditional knowledge, and between “modernity” and traditions.
To these ends, the project will focus on youth involvement and engagement, seminars and place-based workshops, local capacity building, summer/ winter schools, networking, as well as co-production of project outputs by youth themselves. This project also has an additional goal to be a sustainable project, ie. to contribute directly to capacity building in Arctic indigenous societies by virtue of the project contents and process. This project is initiated and led by Arctic indigenous peoples themselves. It shall contribute to enhancing local capacity by competence and confidence building, project experience generation and international exposure for indigenous youth.
During the Canadian chairmanship of the SDWG (2013-2015), this project established an online portal that promotes community exchange and dissemination of information to support innovative approaches to climate change adaptation. Member States of the Arctic Council will continue to build on their open data policies to consolidate and facilitate access to climate-related Arctic data sets. Other Arctic Council Working Groups are encouraged to submit links to their data sets and/or reports related to adaptation. Please visit the Arctic Adaptation Exchange Portal at: www.arcticadaptationexchange.com.
CLICK HERE to view and download a one-page information note on the Arctic Adaptation Exchange Portal .
This project on Reducing the Incidence of Suicide in Indigenous Groups–Strengths United through Networks (RISING-SUN) seeks to create common metrics for evaluating suicide prevention efforts in the Arctic as a key component of scaling-up and evaluating interventions across the circumpolar region. The project is designed as a follow-on activity to the Canadian-initiated mental wellness project of 2013-2015, and the earlier SDWG project on Hope and Resilience conducted during the Danish chairmanship (2009-2011). Whereas the Canadian-initiated project focused on best practices from the literature and community-based interventions, RISING SUN is designed to take the next logical step: creating a common, science-based set of metrics to evaluate the key correlates and outcomes associated with suicide prevention interventions, across Arctic states. Common metrics, developed through an on-going engagement with Permanent Participants and community leaders, as well as mental health experts, will facilitate data sharing and pooling, evaluation, and interpretation of interventions across service systems. These metrics will aid health workers to better serve the needs of their communities while helping policymakers measure progress, evaluate the scale-up of interventions, and identify impediments to implementation and cultural adaptability challenges. Arriving at common metrics and reporting systems is especially important in the Arctic, where the vast geography, significant number of remote communities, and breadth of cultural diversity, pose challenges for systematic approaches to suicide prevention. Visit the RISING SUN Website.
One Health is an approach to assess health issues at the interface between humans, animals, and ecosystems. This project on Operationalizing a One Health approach in the Arctic (One Health) seeks to forge co-equal, all inclusive collaborations across multiple scientific disciplines and Arctic communities in order to enhance resiliency of the Arctic inhabitants through an enhanced understanding of climatic change impacts on health risks to people, animals, and the environment. This is a valuable strategy for the Arctic, where there is a great need to understand the complex nature of climatic change on the health of all of the Arctic. The One Health approach assesses the potential health effects at the human-animal-ecosystem interface and can greatly enhance scientific understanding of the threats to Arctic communities and ecosystems. It will contribute to the development of new tools for effective policies focused on reducing the burden of health threats and enhancing community resiliency. These include tools and methods for assessing vulnerability, screening and evaluation strategies, programs for climate risks assessments, identifying adaptation options, and weighing the costs and benefits of those options. CLICK HERE to view and download a one-page information note on the One Health Project.
This project on Improving Health through Safe and Affordable Access to Household Running Water and Sewer (WASH) focuses on water-related health challenges in Arctic and Sub-Arctic communities. A key event associated with the project is a two-day circumpolar conference to be held in Anchorage, Alaska during the fall of 2016. Additionally, prior to the conference, the project will deliver an informational summary of the status of household running water and sewer service together with a comparison of water-associated illness rates across Arctic and Sub-Arctic communities. The circumpolar conference will bring together researchers, engineers, manufacturers and vendors, and health experts to discuss health benefits, challenges and solutions associated with making running water and sewer in small Arctic and Sub-Arctic communities safe, affordable and sustainable. A comparison of technical approaches and the different governance and regulatory frameworks and approaches utilized by Arctic nations will be discussed together with problems and solutions regarding the potential impact of climate change on sanitation infrastructure in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic. The State of Alaska will also present information about The Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge Project, a multi-year research and development effort started in 2012. The project focuses on decentralized water and wastewater treatment, recycling, and water minimization in cold climates. Please visit the WIHAH website for more information.
The Economy of the North 2015 (ECONOR III) will provide an updated overview of the economy, socio-economic living conditions and environmental issues in the circumpolar Arctic, as impacted by the global economy and climate change. The report, to be published in March 2016, will update and follow upon the previous ECONOR reports, ECONOR I, (2006) and ECONOR II (2008). A main motivation for the ECONOR projects has been to harmonize socio-economic statistical data across national and regional borders. The ECONOR reports have contributed to obtaining an informative overview; however, circumpolar comparison of economic data is not yet established in official statistical systems. The purpose of establishing a harmonized statistical overview is to improve the knowledge basis for policy-making in relation to natural resource management and social development. Like the previous ECONOR projects, ECONOR III responds mainly to two of six SDWG priority thematic areas, namely Arctic Socio-economic Issues and Management of Natural Resources.
The Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy (ARENA) project addresses the need for the development of community energy experts to ensure affordable, reliable, renewable source energy solutions for Arctic communities. Its approach integrates web-based seminars with classroom learning and field exposure. The project draws from best practices established through the experience of the people living and the organizations operating in the Arctic. Participants will bring back to their home countries knowledge, skills, tools, and a network of collaborators that will facilitate integrating clean energy technologies in their communities and improving management of fossil fuel resources used for power production and heating. A pilot program for this work is planned for the summer of 2016. The project focuses mainly on one SDWG priority thematic area, namely Energy and Arctic Communities, and aligns with the SDWG’s goals of advancing sustainable development and building capacity in the Arctic, including facilitating practical community-based actions. CLICK HERE to view and download a one-page information note on the ARENA project. Visit the ARENA website.
The objective of this project is to assess the potential for increased production and added value of food from the Arctic, with the overarching aim of improving food security, and enhancing the social and economic conditions of Arctic communities. The Arctic is already an important food-producing region, but its potential is much greater. By focusing on biological (climate change), commercial (commercial resources, infrastructure and resource and industry policy), cultural (food traditions and organization of food chains) and market conditions (local, national and international), this project will identify potential pathways for Arctic food production and distribution. The aim is to identify conditions for increased production, both to improve food security in northern regions, and to increase the added value of food originating in the Arctic both for local and southern markets. The aim is therefore twofold: 1) to enhance commercial food production ‘in the North and for the North’ and 2) to develop North to South food production linkages. Together these aims will lead to more sustainable food systems in the Arctic.
To contribute to sustainable development and healthy, resilient communities in the Arctic, the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) has initiated work on an online Arctic Renewable Energy Atlas (AREA). AREA will provide solar, wind, geothermal, marine and hydrokinetic resource maps within an easily accessible website. AREA will also overlay existing energy generation capabilities to allow easy visualization of localized supply and demand and encourage clean energy prospecting and investment. Finally, in an effort to profile and share best practices gleaned from traditional and local knowledge, AREA will showcase videos from Arctic community stakeholders discussing successes and challenges found in developing clean energy projects. AREA will be available free of charge to the general public, investors, policy makers, researchers, and Arctic public officials to raise awareness on energy efficiency opportunities and renewable energy development potential. By combining multi-layer data visualization and promoting local solutions, AREA will expand the capacity of Arctic residents and scientists to manage and respond to future challenges and opportunities. Please visit the AREA website.
The purpose and objective of the project is to promote and expand the dialogue on Gender Equality in the Arctic region. Building on previous projects, initiatives and conferences, in particular the outcome and recommendations from the Conference – Gender Equality in the Arctic- Current Realities and Future Challenges, that was held in Akureyri in October 2014. This project proposal aims to continue that work by establishing a formal network of experts in this field that will over the course of the next two years advance the work of the Arctic Council and the SDWG in this area.
Other Projects and Activities
The SDWG is also involved in other projects and activities during the USA Chairmanship period (2015-2017), including:
- Cooperation on cross-cutting issues with other Arctic Council working groups and task forces, including:
- PAME’s project on Meaningful Engagement of Indigenous Peoples in Marine Activities (MEMA);
- PAME’s project on Implementation of the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan;
- AMAP’s International Arctic Science Conference: Bringing Knowledge to Action, in Reston, Virginia, April 2017
- ACAP’s project on Circumpolar Local Environmental Observing Network (CLEO).