Canada’s vision for the Canadian and circumpolar Arctic is guided by our Arctic and Northern Policy Framework, released in 2019. Co-developed with federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners, the Arctic Framework acts as our roadmap to build a future where Arctic and Northern communities are thriving, strong, and safe. In order to achieve this overarching goal, Canada is working with international partners to provide increased opportunities for Arctic and Northern Canadians.
For Canada, the Arctic Council remains the pre-eminent forum for Arctic cooperation. It brings together Arctic states, Indigenous peoples and observers to address the most important issues facing the people who live and work in the Arctic, including education and research collaboration.
Canada’s 2019 federal budget included $34 million over five years to support international activities to ensure that Arctic and Northern communities continue to grow and prosper. This included dedicated funding to strengthen Canada’s engagement in the Arctic Council, establishing a Canada-based permanent secretariat for the Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group, supporting the participation of Indigenous Northerners in the Arctic Council and its work, increasing the University of the Arctic’s activities and programming in Canada, and providing opportunities for Northern and Indigenous youth to engage in international Arctic affairs.
This last commitment includes providing increased educational opportunities, both through domestic investments in Canada to enhance Northern capacity, but also through our international Arctic engagement, enabling young Northerners to better engage in the region they call home. Global Affairs Canada actively provides opportunities for youth engagement in the development and implementation of Canada's international Arctic policy and programming. This includes prioritizing youth participation at regional and global conferences and in other relevant international fora.
Developed under the auspices of the Arctic Council, UArctic plays a particularly important role in empowering Northern communities through educational exchanges and knowledge networks. We will enhance Canadian engagement through the UArctic network with increased opportunities for young Canadians to work closely with an array of institutions across Arctic and non-Arctic states.
Canada is also supporting circumpolar exchange of information and best practices on early learning, as well as post-secondary and early career skills development in remote Arctic and Northern communities. In addition, we are pursuing measures that provide Canada's Arctic and Northern youth with international learning opportunities, which will include early-career exchange programs across the circumpolar region.
As such, the Arctic Framework places a particular importance on Arctic and Northern youth. Youth are a significant and growing demographic in the Canadian North, and critical to developing resilient and healthy communities. Canada also acknowledges the important role that Indigenous youth play in the preservation and revitalisation of Indigenous cultures and languages. Their involvement in education, science and research, as well as policy implementation, is crucial to achieving a thriving Arctic.
The importance of community engagement throughout the research process and the value of incorporating Indigenous Knowledge in knowledge creation cannot be overstated. The meaningful inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge not only ensures that Northerners contribute to Arctic science and research, but it also generates better results. We therefore encourage Arctic educational institutions to involve Northerners, as well as Indigenous Knowledge holders, in the conception, design, and delivery of research, including sharing results with Northern and Indigenous communities.
Guided by the Arctic Framework, Canada will work with our partners to strengthen the young and Indigenous voices in rooms where ideas are presented and decisions are made. We firmly believe that knowledge and understanding must guide decision making, and that decisions about the Arctic must be based on the meaningful inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge in all Arctic matters. Through our engagement with UArctic, we hope to build a future where the youngest members of our Arctic and North can thrive.
We know that we can achieve better results together, and Canada is committed to taking a leadership role to address the challenges and opportunities that face the Arctic region in collaboration with domestic and international partners.