The Arctic Social Indicators Project (ASI)
The Arctic Social Indicators (ASI) project is a project following up on the activities of the Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR), and is initiated by the Stefansson Arctic Institute, Akureyri, Iceland, which also hosts the secretariat. ASI has been endorsed by the Arctic Council, and has also received the endorsement of the IPY.
The goal is to device Arctic social indicators which will help facilitate the tracking and monitoring of human development in the Arctic over time. While the AHDR is a major achievement, it is apparent that the development of some means of monitoring trends in human development in the Arctic would be extremely helpful from the perspective of those involved in the policy process. Those wishing to track developments relating to the status of Arctic cultures, the evolution of indigenous rights, or the growth of the region’s economy, for example, can take the picture presented in the AHDR as a point of departure and compare developments at various temporal intervals in order to get a handle on changes over time in human development or social welfare in the Arctic. What the AHDR does not do, however, is to provide time series data regarding the various elements of human development in the Arctic, and nor does it present a suite of quantifiable indicators suitable for use on the part of those seeking to monitor or track changes in human development in the Arctic.
The goal of the ASI project is to move toward filling this gap. The objective is to devise a limited set of indicators that reflect key aspects of human development in the Arctic, that are tractable in terms of measurement, and that can be monitored over time at a reasonable cost in terms of labour and material resources.
The development of indicators fall within six domains: (1) Fate control and or the ability to guide one’s own destiny; (2) Cultural integrity or belonging to a viable local culture; (3) Contact with nature or interacting closely with the natural world; (4) Material Well-being; (5) Education; (6) Health/demography. Indicators are being developed for each of these domains.
The report on Arctic social indicators will be directed at a broad audience, including the science community, inhabitants of the Arctic, policymakers at all levels, and in particular the Arctic Council and its SDWG. The plan is to have a book report on Arctic social indicators completed in year 2008.
First ASI workshop: Akureyri, Iceland, September 2006
Second ASI workshop: Roskilde, Denmark, June 2007
Third ASI workshop (team-leader meeting): Copenhagen, Denmark, February, 2008
The ASI project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers Arctic Cooperation Programme