November 5, 2008

Vision for the Canadian Arctic Research Initiative: Assessing the Opportunities

The International Expert Panel on Science Priorities for the Canadian Arctic Research Initiative

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Summary

In its October 2007 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed itself to the construction of a world-class Arctic research station, as part of a larger northern strategy. Accordingly, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) hosted a Visioning Workshop to help define those priorities. 

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The Question

The Panel, convened by the CCA, assessed the extent to which proposed priorities articulate Canada’s global advantage in terms of Arctic science. Specifically, the Panel considered the following questions:

  • Do the science priorities express Canada’s distinct advantages in terms of Arctic science?
  • Do the priorities address gaps and represent elements of Canada’s future Arctic science priorities, including key policy and regulatory needs?
  • Do the science priorities take into account key international initiatives?
  • How can the new Arctic Research Station contribute to achieving these priorities?

Key Findings

In considering the science program of the Canadian Arctic Research Initiative,  the Panel concluded that Canada should build on its twin inherent advantages:  (i) the rich variety of ecosystems that make up Canada’s vast arctic terrain, and  (ii) Canada’s human capital, comprising its northern citizens together with its largely  southern-based scientists and engineers. Taking into consideration these unique Canadian advantages,  the Panel considered the four science priorities proposed in the Visioning Workshop report: sustainable  resource development; environmental science and stewardship; climate change; and healthy and sustainable communities.

The International Expert Panel on Science Priorities for the Canadian Arctic Research Initiative (CARI) concluded that the four science priorities recommended in the Visioning Workshop Report were sensible and appropriate directions for Canada. They did recommend, however, that an additional two priorities, Observation and Monitoring and Technology, be considered. Among their conclusions, the Panel determined that it is vital to recognize Canada’s international obligation to arctic science and that we must “seek synergy” by breaking down the silos of methodologies, disciplines, and stakeholder interests.

Following the Expert Panel’s report, the Government of Canada, in Budget 2009, allotted $87 million to the development of arctic initiatives and research.

Expert Panel

The International Expert Panel on Science Priorities for the Canadian Arctic Research Initiative

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