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EALAT Presented at VACCA, Tromso
Written by Philip Burgess   
Friday, 24 October 2008 01:00
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vacca1The Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Arctic” (VACCA) workshop has just wrapped up in Tromso (22-23 October). The goal of the workshop was to hear various presentations that addressed the theme and prepare a document of recommendations in order to submit to the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group. The workshop was convened by Ilman Kelman and Grete Hovelsrud Broderstad (both of CICERO). EALAT was presented by Anders Oskal. Other attendees from EALAT included Ole Isak Eira, Ellen Inga Turi, Ravdna Biret Marja Eira, Svein Mathiesen, Anna Degteva and Philip Burgess




There was a wide variety of speakers from various organizations and institutions. Gunn Britt Retter (Saami Council) spoke of the challenges that indigenous peoples faced as a result of climate change. Indigenous peoples who for example base their livelihood on the resources of the local environment cannot simply up stakes and leave. Retter said it was critical to educate scientists, legislators and policy makers about differences in knowledge systems, world views and traditional practices. Anders Oskal gave an overview of the EALAT project and how reindeer husbandry encompasses the themes of vulnerability and resilience in the Arctic and how the EALAT project offers signposts for creating best practices for local approaches to vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.


Joan Eamer of GRID Arendal gave an overview of the Polarview programme under this theme. EALAT has been is a user of the Polarview products. The goal of Polarview is to provide earth observation services to users such as snow melt maps, flood forecasting in Russia and the Yukon and the innovative floe edge ice service in northern Canada.




The workshop split into break out groups under the themes of local infrastructure, livelihoods, gender and youth and elderly all of which reported back as to their main findings, climate information, tools for assessing risk and vulnerability, energy infrastructure for adaptation, biodiversity, health, communication and outreach, networks, education and training and research. Reindeer husbandry concerns were raised in the livelihoods session  which was convened by EALAT Phd student Ellen Inga Turi. In this session, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry Director, Anders Oskal explicitly made the link between traditional knowledge use and  vulnerability

"You are very vulnerable the moment you are not allowed to use your own knowledge. Everyone seems to agree that traditional knowledge is good - but are you  allowed to use it? Are there political and administrative barriers that prevent the use of this knowledge. Castration of reindeer is one concrete example of  this type of knowledge which may not be permitted in the future in Norway and Sweden"


Turi reported back to the audience that efforts to mitigate climate change, such as hydro power and windmills can also lead to a loss of pastures and that is was important to emphasise the resilience of livelihoods as there are many changes coming that we do not yet know about.



The gender break out group arrived at the conclusion that gender is important and that it not just about women. Technology was seen as reinforcing the gender divide and this was increasing as the Arctic was becoming more industrialised. This session proposed an Arctic food conference as being an effective way to bring people together around an issue of equal importance to all.

EALAT project leader Svein Mathiesen asked the room whether there were lessons from 'shock effects' in the past and id resilience assessment might be a more effective way to bring advice to the nation states

The final panel was themed as 'Future Actions for the Arctic Council'. Leanne Ellsworth of ICC Canada displayed dramatic images that showed that climate change impacts are already being felt in her community as floods have caused serious erosion with real social and economic costs.



She noted that indigenous peoples are not just victims of climate change, but want to be art of the solution. Then came a presentation by Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and Executive Director  of Tebtebba (a summary of her talk will follow). Tauli-Corpuz, in a strong presentation stated,

"We are the most effected by climate change, but we have contributed the least. As a people, we have the moral authority to state our position."

See Photographs Here

Read More about VACCA here

CICERO, Conferences, ICR Activities, Saami Council, VACCA
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