Arctic Human Development Report II

Arctic Human Development Report: Regional Processes and Global Linkages
Volume II (2010-2014)

The report was published on the web in February 2015 (click on the title above).
Editors: Joan Nymand Larsen and Gail Fondahl
Publisher: Nordic Council of Ministers

Click here for AHDR-II summary report (folder) produced by the SDWG for the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Canada. It contains AHDR key findings.

Secretariat and Principal Contact: 
Dr. Joan Nymand Larsen (project leader)
Stefansson Arctic Institute
Borgir, Nordurslod
IS-600 Akureyri
Tel:  +354 460 8984

Summary of AHDR-II project proposal
Project leader: Dr. Joan Nymand Larsen – Stefansson Arctic Institute, Iceland
Co-project leader: Dr. Gail Fondahl – University of Northern British Columbia, Canada

AHDR image

The purpose of the AHDR-II project – Arctic Human Development Report II: Regional Processes and Global Linkages – is to move the study of human development in the Arctic beyond the AHDR (2004) baseline, to provide the second assessment and synthesis report on the state of human development in the Arctic, and to contribute to our increased knowledge and understanding of the consequences and interplay of physical and social global change processes for human living conditions and adaptability in the Arctic, and to strengthen the competence and international leadership role in human dimension scientific assessments and research. 

We propose that this second volume of the AHDR gives special attention to global change impacts including climate change as cross-cutting themes.  Among new topics to be considered for inclusion in the AHDR-II are: Globalization and the Arctic; Climate Change in the Arctic; Migration and Urbanization in the Arctic; Language Change and Revitalization; and Issues of Inequality. In addition, all themes from the AHDR (2004) are expected to continue, and they are: Arctic demography; societies and cultures; economic systems; political systems; legal systems; resource governance; community viability; human health; education; gender issues; circumpolar international relations and geopolitics. The report will include a methodology section which will be useful as a way to establish the standards for Arctic human development assessment work in the future.

The expected project completion is year 2014, ten years after the launch of the first AHDR in 2004. The first AHDR was a baseline report, and the assumption then was that the report would be followed by periodic new volumes (with 5 or 10 year intervals) to update and provide new overviews and assessments of the state of human development in the Arctic. With the production of AHDR-II – ten years on - it will be possible to move beyond the baseline report and make comparisons and contrasts between critical time periods in an era with rapid change impacts in the circumpolar region. The proposed project will be an important contribution to addressing this area of research on living conditions, quality of life in the North, and indigenous livelihoods, identified as high priority by the Arctic Council, residents of the Arctic,  and the international research community. 

The AHDR-II will provide a comprehensive overview of human development in the Arctic in a time of rapid global change processes, be an instrument in assessing progress toward sustainable human development, and a tool to educate the public. It is expected to provide valuable material for educational instruction in the UArctic, northern universities and colleges, and be a solid handbook for policy makers engaged in international cooperation in the Arctic – thus targeting the same audience as with the AHDR (2004).  This will be a peer-reviewed volume.

The project will be seeking the endorsement of the Arctic Council – to be completed under the auspices of the SDWG. We will actively explore opportunities for collaboration and the creation of linkages to other major WG assessments  and activities under the Arctic Council where appropriate.  A case in point would be the CAFF work on indicator construction and language retention. A working relationship between the CBMP has started via the work on ASI (AHDR follow-up).

Iceland has taken on the lead role, with secretariat located at the Stefansson Arctic Institute. This institute also hosted and managed the coordination of the first AHDR project, and the Arctic Social Indicators (ASI) follow-up projects.

The period since the first AHDR (2004) has seen two important direct follow-ups to the AHDR – Arctic Social Indicators (ASI-I) and ASI-II – both addressing critical gaps in knowledge identified in the AHDR (2004) on indicator development and human development monitoring. The ASI project outcome and reports will help inform the AHDR-II synthesis and assessment, along with a large volume of current and new IPY research addressing the themes of the AHDR-II framework.

The proposed AHDR-II will provide the SDWG with an important updated assessment of the state of human development in the circumpolar region as of the first decade of the 21st Century.  This will be the first large circumpolar assessment of the state of human development in the Arctic since the AHDR in 2004. The project will also contribute to creating important synergies and capacity building in Arctic research collaboration. The development and, ideally,  periodic updating of the Arctic Human Development Report will serve a number of related purposes, and for the AHDR-II, these can be summarized as:

  • The AHDR-II will provide an update to the comprehensive baseline in terms of which to evaluate trends that affect sustainable human development among residents of the circumpolar world over time.
  • The AHDR-II will make it possible to compare and contrast cultural, economic, political, and social conditions throughout the Arctic with similar conditions in other parts of the eight Arctic countries and in the world at large, between 2004 and 2014.
  • The AHDR-II will facilitate comparisons across the Arctic regarding key elements of sustainable human development and, in the process, make it possible to identify innovative policies and institutions in specific areas that might offer lessons with wider Arctic applicability.
  • The AHDR-II will provide a circumpolar assessment of human development and quality of life in the Arctic that the SDWG can use to identify priorities and to evaluate the relevance of proposals for projects submitted to it for endorsement.
  • The AHDR-II includes further developing the results achieved during IPY with the goal to improve knowledge and dissemination with regards to living conditions and quality of life in the North.
  • It will contribute to our increased knowledge and understanding of the consequences of global change for human living conditions in the Arctic.
  • The project’s focus on the ability to monitor, track and periodically assess changes in human development provides a framework for the development and improvement of quality of life of Arctic residents, with special attention to indigenous peoples of the north.
  • Annual status and fact sheet type reports, including information and data on the current state of human development in the Arctic – drawing on the data and research gathered and assessed so far in the project – will be presented to the SDWG at regular intervals.  This will combine the multi-year work on a comprehensive assessment with annual reports to keep the SDWG up-to-date on the current state of human development in the North.

The work of organizing and preparing the AHDR-II report will be carried out by an international  group of leading Arctic experts (the steering group), the Secretariat. It will also be supported by an Executive and Advisory Committee that is expected to include members of the SDWG.  The Report will seek the endorsement of the Arctic Council, to be prepared under the auspices of the SDWG.

  • The SCARP welcomed the second AHDR in its conference statement at the CPAR in Brussels, Sept 13-15: ”Support the Icelandic initiative toward a second Arctic Human Development Report in 2014, bringing together state-of-the-art knowledge from the IPY that covers Arctic societies and their welfare in a global context.”
  • AHDR-II Steering Group A steering/working group will be established and given the task of completing the assessment and synthesis report. The group will have broad representation from the scientific community, and communities of Arctic inhabitants and indigenous peoples and permanent participants.The steering group will include members from the ASI working groups, and networks and researchers who were part of the AHDR team, as well as new members with expertise in the field.  There will be broad representation from the scientific community, indigenous peoples, communities of the North, other Arctic stakeholders, and other Arctic Council indicator and living conditions projects.
  • Executive Committee The project leader and co-project leader together with representation from the AC Permanent Participants, and other selected members, are envisioned to form an executive committee responsible for keeping the project moving according to an agreed timetable.
  • Report Advisory Committee A report advisory committee will be invited to help provide advice and general guidance for the assessment process.  The Committee could be made up of 9 to 12 members selected to represent disciplinary expertise, geographical knowledge, indigenous concerns, and gender perspectives. It is envisioned that members of the SDWG will make up the core membership of this committee.
  • Role of SDWG The envisioned role of the SDWG is participation on the project’s advisory committee, as well as possible other contributions to the project, including reviewing, by individual representatives. It is envisioned that the AHDR-II will be prepared under the auspices of the AC SDWG but in collaboration with other relevant groups and organizations, including the Permanent Participants, the Indigenous People's Secretariat, NGO's, the International Arctic Social Science Association (IASSA), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), and the University of the Arctic.
  • A Lead Author Procedure will ensure that the final text of the report is fully integrated and written in a manner that is understandable to interested lay readers. 1-2 lead authors will be nominated and selected for each chapter.  In addition, there will be a number of contributing and/or consulting authors for each chapter of the report.