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Arctic Social Indicators

A follow-up to the Arctic Human Development Report

image of Arctic Social Indicators

This report is a result of and follow-up to the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR), which appeared in 2004 and had been conducted under the auspices of the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). The AHDR marked processes of maturation within the Arctic Council and beyond. On the one hand, the AHDR represented the first social science-driven report prepared for the Arctic Council, indicating that various stakeholders, from politicians to Arctic residents, understood the importance of the ”human dimension”for sustainable development in the Arctic. On the other hand, the processes leading to the AHDR marked new developments in the relationship between Arctic governance and scholarship, including coordinated support for the report from the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (SCPAR).

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Health and population

Health and population are both important dimensions on the minimum list of indicators that United Nations experts have proposed for the statistical monitoring of broad areas of social concern (UN, 1996; also see UN, 1975 and UN, 1989). Indeed, most governments record health and population measures, which are important gauges for policy discussions. Health has obvious relevance both as an aspect of well-being and as an indicator of how successfully society is functioning to serve the needs of its people. Population may seem less obvious as an indicator of well-being, but it is such a fundamental dimension of human settlements in the North as elsewhere that few other indicators can be understood without it. Population size, rates of change, the contributions of births, deaths and migration, and other characteristics that result from these factors (age structure, sex ratio, and cultural composition) convey a wealth of information about a communitys current conditions and needs, along with its potential and path toward the future.

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