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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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Introduction

Human Development in the Arctic and Arctic Social Indicators

Rapid change, both physical and social, challenges Arctic communities. While climate change is perhaps the most obvious and widely acknowledged influence on the future of circumpolar societies, other factors play a more immediate role in the lives of Arctic residents in many areas. Globalization, economic and political transformations, changing cultural landscapes, often driven from afar but experienced in the North, are all requiring adaptations. In the first years of the twenty-first century, in recognition of these social challenges, the Arctic Council supported the documentation of Arctic residents well-being around the Circumpolar North. It commissioned the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR), in 2002, as a priority project during Icelands chairmanship of the Arctic Council, to provide a comprehensive knowledge base for the Arctic Councils Sustainable Development Program, which could serve as a point of departure for assessing progress in the future (AHDR 2004:15). The report was also to highlight dimensions of human well-being that are not prominent in mainstream discussions of this topic (AHDR 2004:15).

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