Pursuing an Indigenous Platform: Exploring Opportunities and Constraints for Indigenous Participation in the UNFCCC

2019 February 5

Belfer, E., Ford, J.D., Maillet, M., Aaros, M. and Flynn, M. (2019). Pursuing and Indigenous Platform: Exploring Opportunities and Constraints for Indigenous Participation in the UNFCCCGlobal Environmental Politics, article online.

Despite growing consensus that Indigenous peoples, knowledge systems, rights and solutions should be meaningfully included in international climate change governance, substantive improvements in practice remain limited. An expanding body of scholarship examines the evolving discursive space in which issues facing Indigenous peoples are treated, with a predominant focus on decision outcomes of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC). To understand the opportunities and constraints for meaningful participation of Indigenous peoples in international climate policy making, this article examines the experiences of Indigenous participants in the UNFCCC. We present findings from semistructured interviews with key informants, showing that material constraints and the designation of Indigenous peoples as nonstate observers continue to pose challenges for participants. Tokenism and a lack of meaningful recognition further constrain participation. Nevertheless, networks of resource sharing, coordination, and support organized among Indigenous delegates alleviate some of the impacts of constraints. Additionally, multistakeholder alliances and access to presidencies and high-level state delegates provide opportunities for international and national agenda-setting. The space available for Indigenous participation in the UNFCCC is larger than formal rules dictate but depends on personal relationships and political will. As the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform established by the Paris Agreement formalizes a distinct space for Indigenous participants in the UNFCCC, this article outlines existing opportunities and constraints and considers potential interactions between the evolving platform and existing mechanisms for participation.

James at Arctic Frontiers this week

2019 January 21



James will be at Arctic Frontiers in Tromso this week. He was part of a plenary session on smart and resilient Arctic societies on Monday and will be at the conference until Thursday

How do Canadian media report climate change impacts on health? A newspaper review

2019 January 21

King, N., Bishop-Williams, K.E, Beauchamp, S., Ford, J.D., Berrang-Ford, L., Cunsolo, A., IHACC Research Team, Harper, S.L. (2018). How do Canadian media report climate change impacts on health? A newspaper review. Climatic Change, article online.


Research on climate change media coverage is growing. Few studies, however, have investigated how the media portrays climate change impacts on human health. This review, therefore, presents a quantitative spatiotemporal analysis of Canadian newspaper coverage of climate change impacts on health between 2005 and 2015. Using the ProQuest® and Eureka®databases, a multiphase systematic review strategy was employed to identify relevant English and French articles from two national and six regional high-circulation newspapers. Quantitative and qualitative data were extracted from 145 articles and analyzed to characterize the range, extent, and nature of climate-health newspaper coverage in Canada and to compare these characteristics by region and over time. Coverage varied by region, with the highest proportion of climate-health coverage in Northern Territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut). Over time, there was a decreasing publication frequency trend. Almost all articles described negative climate change impacts on health, with a predominant focus on infectious and chronic noninfectious diseases; however, less than half of the articles discussed climate change solutions. These trends suggest that current media coverage might not drive widespread public support for policies and actions needed to protect against projected climate-health risks. Consequently, as climate change continues to challenge human health, increasing media emphasis on climate change impacts on human health, as well as a shift toward enabling and empowering climate change communication, in which viable mitigation and adaptation options are emphasized, could help to spur action to reduce climate change health risks.

Eranga Presents Research on Indigenous Arctic Fisheries at ArcticNet 2018

2018 December 18


Last week, Eranga gave both a poster and oral presentation of his work on the adaptive capacity of the Arctic turbot fishery system in the coastal community of Pangnirtung, Nunavut.

The winter turbot fishery of Pangnirtung is a key commercial fishery, and has a value ofapproximately CAN$1 million annually to the community. Eranga’s work assesses adaptive response of the turbot fishery sector to climate change: asking whether it is on track to effectively face its impacts, whether current adaptations could be further improved, and whether there is potential for sharing these adaptations among other neighbouring Nunavummiut communities.



Eranga with his poster: Can an Arctic turbot fishery adapt to climate change  at ArcticNet 2018


His research has identified four key adaptive responses of the Pangnirtung turbot fisheries system: a) the sharing of turbot fishing knowledge among neighbouring communities, b) flexibility in Inuit perspectives toward to use of turbot fish as a subsistence food, c) turbot fish market diversification, and d) the adoption of new technologies among fishermen to improve yield.


Angus Presents Poster At ArcticNet 2018

2018 December 18


Last week Angus presented a poster summary of his project, Tooniktoyok, at ArcticNet 2018.


Developed in collaboration with the Hamlet of Ulukhaktok, and with funding from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), Tooniktoyok – meaning ‘to provide for, with extreme determination’ – is a community-led project, aiming to co-produce knowledge around the microeconomics of subsistence and climate adaptation in Canada’s Far North.


Running between June 2018-June 2019, the project places particular emphasis on the day-to-day conditions experienced by individuals whilst out on the land. Specifically, the magnitude and nature of environmental change as compared with past conditions, how these are affecting hazards faced and the viability of traditional trail routes, and the economic costs of associated with necessary adaptation and the continuation of hunting practices.


Angus (centre), pictured with Tooniktoyok project lead, Dr. Tristan Pearce (right), and Patrick Joss (left), resident of Ulukhaktok and recipient of the ArcticNet 2018 Northern Travel Fund.