Vancouver, Canada – Duane Smith, President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada is in Vancouver, British Columbia attending the Northern Contaminants Program Results Workshop. The NCP Results Workshop, held every other year, is the main venue for Canadian scientists, indigenous peoples and policy-makers to focus attention on the breadth of issues related to contaminants from long-range sources in Canada’s North, to learn about and discuss the latest results, current state of knowledge and policy implications, and to plan for future initiatives.
“For over 21 years the Government funded Northern Contaminants Program understood the value of building strong partnerships with the peoples who live in the Arctic” stated Duane Smith. “As a national program, Inuit from all four regions of Inuit Nunangat and other northern indigenous peoples have guided this Arctic research program side by side with indigenous knowledge holders, academics and government scientists. Inuit have been able to guide the research to answer questions important to our communities” offered Natan Obed, President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
The Speech from the Throne on December 4th charted a course for evidence based decision making –
Environmental impacts will be understood and minimized. Decisions will be informed by scientific evidence. And Indigenous peoples will be more fully engaged in reviewing and monitoring major resource development projects. The NCP has been a model for national and international Arctic research programs – it has been a success. “The NCP focussed on long range transport of contaminants their sources and impacts on the Arctic environment and its peoples, provided the evidence to negotiate the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and provided timely research into countless national and international polices,” noted Smith “and will provide evidence to inform policies on emerging issues for decades to come”.
“The NCP has proven its success, the valued relationships with Inuit, the contribution to understanding the unpredictable and rapid changes we are seeing in the marine and terrestrial wildlife from the changing climate and its effects on the ecosystem, and the impact on the health and wellness Inuit” Smith said.
Smith and Obed urge the Government of Canada, “to enhance this program to meet the emerging issues the Arctic is facing, recognize the value this program has had in monitoring ecosystem health as it relates directly to indigenous health and culture, food security and informs effective policy.”
For more information:
Natasha Latreille, ICC Canada nlatreille@inuitcircumpolar.com P: 613-563-2642
Patricia D’Souza, ITK
dsouza@itk.ca
P: 613-238-8181 ext. 276