ReSDA

Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic
Research Director: Chris Southcott

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 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.

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