Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami has released a national Inuit position paper to guide future policies and programs governing the marine environments of Inuit Nunangat.
Our climate strategy advances Inuit determined actions to strengthen the sustainability and resilience of our communities in the face of a rapidly changing climate and landscape.
We have outlined an interconnected strategy for climate action focused on five priority areas.
We are rights holders, not stakeholders.
This is our homeland, not a frontier.
Inuit have historically been excluded from government conversations and policy on climate action. Part of reconciliation is acknowledging Inuit as leaders in pushing forward climate action.
Our communities are already adapting to the changing climate. We are actively working to protect the resilience of our northern communities. Our voices are key to conversations on successful climate actions in Inuit Nunangat.
Climate change is one of the largest health concerns of modern times.
Direct health concerns related to temperatures that are increasing at three times the rate of the global averages, melting permafrost damaging our infrastructure, changing ice conditions, coastal erosion, changing contaminant pathways, and changing access to locally harvested foods, intensifies social and health challenges in our communities.
Climate change also brings a loss of traditions, identity, and sense of place.
Climate action solutions must be built with Inuit health concerns in mind.
The sharing of wild foods remains at the core of Inuit values and culture.
Inuit communities are the most food insecure of all indigenous communities in Canada. Our food systems rely on a combination of foods shipped up from the south, as well as locally harvested country food.
We are increasingly reliant on market foods. These foods are more and more expensive, and limited in terms of the availability of nutritionally dense and fresh foods.
A climate action strategy must be informed by Inuit specific food policies and programs.
There has always been a gap in infrastructure between Inuit Nunangat and the rest of Canada.
The physical landscape that Inuit communities are built on has been changing rapidly for decades. Inuit communities have responded with retrofits, and renovations to existing buildings, but more is needed in terms of official government policy.
Access to education, and resources that increase the climate resilience of our communities is necessary.
Government initiatives for new buildings, retrofits to existing buildings, and incentives for climate resilient builds must account for the specific challenges Inuit face.
None of our Inuit communities are connected to the North American power grid.
Inuit communities currently rely on their own policies and initiatives to adjust for the increased cost of living in northern communities. We rely heavily on diesel fuel for heating, and transportation of basic resources.
Creating a lower carbon economy must include “off-grid” Inuit populations.
While we look to the positive action achieved by off-grid Alaskan and Greenlandic communities, the energy policy environment in Canada is different and requires that the Canadian government work closely with Inuit to achieve energy transitions that benefit our communities.
Why do we need a National Inuit Climate Change Strategy?
Our National Inuit Climate Change Strategy includes a detailed plan for working with outside partners to ensure our communities are climate-resilient.
Climate change solutions should provide a sustainable future for all Canadians.
We are seeking collaborations from partners—including federal, provincial, and territorial governments; international bodies; non-governmental organizations; and the private sector—willing to work with Inuit governments and organizations to build a sustainable future for Inuit across Inuit Nunangat.
For more information on how to work collaboratively with Inuit on climate actions and an overview of our governance, please see the strategy’s companion document: Working Better Together—Collaborating with Inuit on Climate Actions in Inuit Nunangat, Appendix A in the full strategy document.
There is no greater threat than climate change, and ITK applauds Canada for taking action on this Earth Day.
The National Inuit Climate Change Strategy calls for coordinated climate policy and decision making to enhance the quality of life for Inuit in Inuit Nunangat.