Iqaluit, May 28, 2012-Northern Canadians generally view their community as the focal point of security. The main objective is to meet basic community needs at the local level. A Conference Board of Canada report published by the Centre for the North outlines the concept of community resilience - which Northerners deem as essential for their communities to thrive.
The report, Getting it Right: Assessing and Building Resilience in Canada's North, recommends that policy-makers, emergency management practitioners, and community and business leaders consider the emerging tool of resilience assessments to make their communities more secure.
"Rather than being primarily concerned about Arctic sovereignty and national security issues, Northern Canadians' concept of security is grounded in their communities, and the extent to which these communities are healthy, self-reliant, and able to cope with a range of shocks," said Anja Jeffrey, Director, Centre for the North. "Resilient communities are effective at drawing on outside assistance and guidance if needed, but are not dependent on external support."
Community security comprises five components: the promotion of socio-economic development; the protection of the environment; the provision of health services; the provision of public safety and security; and, effective governance. There are strong links and interrelationships between community security and community resilience.
Increasing resilience at the local level means making Northern communities more capable of anticipating risks, and absorbing, responding to, and recovering from a variety of emergency events and disruptions. While Northern communities have inherent strengths, they also face unique risks, including: climate change, a lack of adequate infrastructure, remoteness and isolation, the legacies of Aboriginal policies, economic shocks, and health or environmental challenges.
To strengthen their resilience, Northern communities need additional tools, and the emerging concept of resilience assessment offers the most promise. Although most assessments are relatively new and still in the pilot-testing phase, several resilience assessment projects are emerging in Canada and abroad. For example, the Arctic Council - made up of eight countries - has now approved a new project for assessing resilience in the Arctic.
An assessment process should follow four guiding principles. Assessments must be:
This report is produced by The Conference Board of Canada's Centre for the North. The Centre for the North works with Aboriginal leaders, businesses, governments, communities, educational institutions, and other organizations to provide new insights into how sustainable prosperity can be achieved in the North. The Centre will help to establish and implement strategies, policies and practices to transform that vision into reality.
Centre for the North Roundtable members will be meeting in Iqaluit from May 30 to June 1. A reception will be held the evening of May 30.
Associate Director, Communications