Diminishing sea ice and development pressures have led to increased Arctic shipping, which in turn increases the risk of oil spills from ships. The impacts of a spill would be borne by the communities in the region, who depend on healthy and clean marine waters for the majority of their food. Despite the severe consequences of a spill to local communities, many in Canada’s north have had limited input into oil spill response planning (learn more).
Nuka Research planned, facilitated, and reported on the Arctic Shipping and Oil Spills Learning Exchange for Communities, with funding and support from WWF-Canada. The Learning Exchange connected Inuit leaders and community members from Nunavut and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) with leaders from British Columbia First Nations and US Tribes. Participants engaged in a facilitated dialogue about community-based preparedness for Arctic shipping emergencies and oil spills. The workshop focused on peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and transferring lessons learned from communities with a range of past experiences. Participants also included representatives of the Government of Canada, Nunavut, and the ISR. Key outcomes included: the compilation of knowledge and experience; identification of gaps in planning, preparedness and equipment; creating an ongoing dialogue across communities and regions; and identifying best practices for community-based preparedness and response capacity.
A subsequent effort focused on piloting a community-based oil spill response plan in Resolute, NU.