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Arctic people concerned for the future

A new study shows that the indigenous peoples in the Arctic are very uncertain of what the future will bring, in particular, job and business opportunities. The quality of life of the indigenous peoples relies heavily on their faith in the future, the research shows.

The project "Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic” (SLiCA) was presented on 11 May at the Greenland University Park as part of a series of lectures organised in conjunction with the Arctic Council's foreign ministerial meeting in Nuuk, Greenland.

The project identifies and analyses the living conditions of the indigenous peoples in the Arctic and is the first of its kind to compile this information for the Arctic region. SLiCA is an International Polar Year project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, amongst others.

The project is unique partly in that it covers the entire Arctic region, and partly because it measures other indicators than those usually measured in GDP and the United Nations Human Development Index.

The new indicators in SLiCA project are, for instance, the indigenous peoples' perceptions of their living conditions, the individual's priorities and the individual's satisfaction with different situations and living conditions.

"In the SLiCA project we have interviewed almost 8000 people in the Arctic and have noted, amongst other things, that among the indigenous peoples there is great uncertainty associated with future opportunities - particularly in the labour and business markets", says Birger Poppel, project manager and researcher at the University of Greenland, Ilisimatusarfik.

The Arctic Council is holding its foreign ministers' meeting today, 12 May 2011, when they will sign the first binding agreement in the Council's history, an agreement on maritime preparedness called SAR: Search and Rescue.

At the same time, Denmark takes over the chairmanship from Sweden for the next 2-year period. In this context the Danish Foreign Minister, Lene Espersen, has announced that the Commonwealth of the Realm's Arctic strategy is expected to be launched in June 2011. This strategy will focus on the Arctic people and their opportunities. The SLiCA project may prove to be valuable in this context.

The Nordic Council of Ministers will publish an anthology on the SLiCA project during 2011 that will communicate the main conclusions.

Find out more about the project on www.arcticlivingconditions.org

Nauja Bianco
Phone +45 33 96 03 42
Email nabi@norden.org

Birger Poppel +299 36 23 00

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