In May 2012, the Arctic Council member states signed the first binding agreement negotiated under its auspices, the Agreement on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue. While many heralded the Agreement as a signal of the Arctic Council’s maturation as the preeminent forum for circumpolar affairs, others remained concerned about how robustly the Agreement would be implemented in each of the Arctic Council member states.
As a Permanent Participant representing Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Alaska at the Arctic Council, it is natural for the Arctic Athabaskan Council to take the lead at looking at how this international instrument is being implemented in Canada and the local conditions that may need to be addressed to achieve its aims. This is of particular interest as constituents of the AAC have expressed considerable concern about how climate change is impacting their lands and the availability of emergency management services. These concerns were documented in the project sponsored by Dene Nation (a participating organisation in AAC), entitled “The Land of Our Future”.
The main questions that this initiative proposes to answer are: “are we ready?” and if not, “how do we get ready?” This roundtable is an opportunity for discussing the perspective of Yukon communities on this question, with a particular emphasis on the inclusion of traditional knowledge.
The goal is that these roundtables will create a platform for local perspectives to be incorporated into the national and international debates surrounding search and rescue and emergency management by providing a comprehensive view of how risks in Yukon communities become emergency management challenges. These discussions will generate policy options that are priorities for the territory, which will then be presented alongside similar reports from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories at a national roundtable to be hosted by the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program in Ottawa on February 24-26, 2014.
The Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC) is an international treaty organization established to defend the rights and further the interests internationally of American and Canadian Athabaskan members First Nation governments in the eight-nation Arctic Council and other international fora. AAC is an authorized "Permanent Participant" in the Arctic Council. In addition, AAC seeks to foster a greater understanding of the shared heritage of Athabaskan peoples of the Arctic North America.
A partnership between the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program vision “is for peacefully resolved disputes in the Arctic, global environmental security that supports a healthy Arctic environment, and an Arctic foreign policy that centres on the needs of those who live there”. To achieve this vision we undertake original research and host interactive gatherings.