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GEO-6 Regional Assessment for North America


• National Indigenous Organizations were part of Canada’s delegation in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties and are participating in the development of a pan-Canadian framework on climate change and clean growth.


• The Species at Risk Act sets out specific requirements for consulting with wildlife management boards when proposing to list species under the Act, incorporating Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge into species assessments, and cooperating with Aboriginal organizations and wildlife management boards when developing recovery strategies.


• ECCC has been engaging with Indigenous communities on the further development of domestic access and benefit sharing policy for genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.


Development in the Arctic: Challenges and opportunities


The race to develop the extraction of energy and mineral resources, efforts to exploit territories on land and sea, tourism, fisheries, and shipping, and the opening of the seaways poses yet another set of pressures and cascading impacts for Arctic communities (Corell 2013). These development activities are accompanied by a major influx of people, competing national claims, new infrastructure, and companies into the Arctic–all bringing change to the physical environment, as well as to the social order (Larsen et al. 2014; Maynard 2013).


Oil and gas development in particular is accelerating other development in the Arctic through the creation of roads, economic activity and new settlements. Various corridors of intensive development, including the Beaufort- Mackenzie-North and Barents Sea-Pechora basin, will have major implications for the future of many Arctic indigenous communities. These developments bring new economic activity and development into vulnerable regions and communities – many of which are characterized by traditional hunting or reindeer herding; and many sensitive coastal and marine habitats (Grid-Arendal 2015). Balancing the inherent challenges and opportunities that accompany economic development, new infrastructure and investments will require a concerted effort by all parties.


Although the strong adaptive capabilities of Arctic peoples has served them well over the centuries, there is concern that they and their traditional ways of life will be irrevocably affected by the profound transformation taking place so rapidly across the region from climate change, globalization, economic development, and the opening of seaways (Larsen et al. 2014; Corell 2013; Maynard 2013). Thus, it is increasingly important to ensure that the peoples of the Arctic have a strong voice and an essential role in the future of the Arctic.


Traditional indigenous knowledge


Despite these many changes, Arctic indigenous peoples have historically adapted to climatic and environmental variability, as well as to more recent social and technological changes. Their adaptability can, in part, be attributed to their rich storehouse of traditional knowledge and flexible social networks (Larsen et al. 2014; Williams and Hardison 2013; West and Hovelsrud 2010). While indigenous peoples are now facing unprecedented pressures on their ways of life from climate change and the development of oil and mineral resources, they have already been developing some creative ways to cope, including both short-term and more formal long-term planning efforts (Nakashima et al. 2012; Brubaker et al. 2011).


Traditional ecological knowledge is the understanding indigenous peoples have accumulated


over many


generations about the systems at work in their surrounding environment (see Box 2.7.4). It has emerged as an important


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