Implications of Environmental Securitization on Sustainable Development of the Beaufort Sea Coastline

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: social sciences, climate change, resource development

Principal Investigator: Barnes, Justin (1)
Licence Number: 16326
Organization: Trent University
Licenced Year(s): 2018
Issued: Jun 06, 2018

Objective(s): To determine the degree at which environmental security policy is shaping governance structures in the Canadian Arctic and how this could impact the ability of local communities to develop their region as they see fit.

Project Description: This research project will attempt to determine if one of the Canadian federal government’s primary policy approaches to exert its authority over its Arctic territories and territorial waters has been to ‘securitize’ environmental issues that it perceives as vulnerabilities or risks to the state. Ultimately, the purpose of this research project is to determine the degree at which environmental security policy is shaping governance structures in the Canadian Arctic and how this could impact the ability of local communities to develop their region as they see fit.

Semi-structured individual interviews with key stakeholders will be used as the core component of research for this study in order to gather information on perceptions and opinions on maritime resource development and environmental/conservation policies as well as what sustainable development looks like to northern communities. Participants will be asked a maximum of 15 questions. There will be two stages of the interview: The first stage will start off with personal questions to frame the participant’s experience in the region and their general ideas on how the changing Arctic Ocean is impacting them, their community, or their organization. The second stage has been created in order to gather their perspectives on maritime resource development and conservation policies and their impacts on community adaptation and development within the overall context of climate change that was framed in stage 1.

Interviews will be a primary aspect of this research project to incorporate local and regional perspectives of sustainable development and the impacts of federal environmental policy. The research will seek to frame community participation and input on issues and priorities in the midst of increasingly global geopolitical concerns of the federal government in the Arctic. This research will compare and contrast the shared or conflicting federal and Inuit perspectives on current and future Arctic maritime environmental and conservation policies. The information gathered could be used to inform federal agencies of concerns or priorities of local communities while formulating future northern environmental policies that have the potential to impact the ability of local communities to access emerging economic opportunities. The information gathered could also be used by regional and national Inuit organizations while representing their constituents during maritime policy debates.

The results of this study will be sent to the communities involved and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation in the form of a final report and a thesis. If wanted by the community, meetings and presentations can happily be organized to further share the findings of the research and how communities can use it.


The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from September 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018.