We identify and examine how policy intervention can help Canada’s Inuit population adapt to climate change. Communities across the Canadian Arctic are experiencing similar effects from climate change, and, as such, information from the entire region is drawn upon to provide an integrated analysis of adaptation policy opportunities that are relevant and applicable to communities located in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, and elsewhere in the Canadian Arctic. The policy responses are based on an understanding of the determinants of vulnerability identified in ArcticNet-supported research conducted with 22 Inuit communities. A consistent approach was used in each case study where vulnerability was conceptualized as a function of how people are affected by climatic risks and their capacity to deal with those risks. Vulnerability was assessed in the context of multiple stressors, climate and non-climate related, which affect how climate change is experienced and condition adaptation. Case studies involved close collaboration with community members and policy makers to identify conditions to which each community is currently vulnerable, characterize the factors that shape vulnerability and how they have changed over time, identify opportunities for adaptation policy, and examine how adaptation can be mainstreamed. Fieldwork, conducted between 2006 and 2012, included over 750 semi-structured interviews with community members, over 35 focus groups/community workshops, and over 100 semi-structured interviews with policy makers at local, regional, and national levels. Based on a synthesis of findings across the case studies, realizing adaptive capacity and overcoming adaptation barriers requires policy intervention to: (1) support the teaching and transmission of environmental knowledge and land skills; (2) improve access to, and understanding of climate, weather and sea ice information; (3) review and enhance search and rescue capabilities; (4) strengthen harvester support programs; (5) ensure the flexibility of fish and wildlife management regimes; (6) improve the ability of Inuit food systems to meet present dietary and nutritional requirements; (7) protect key infrastructure; and (8) review building codes and land-use plans in light of current and expected climate change.
From Science to Policy in the Western and Central Canadian Arctic: An Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS) of Climate Change and Modernization / Gary Stern & Ashley Gaden (eds): pp.402-427 (Chapter 10)