A Capacity Building Focus.
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Many Arctic communities are searching for a clear path to new economic activity that supplements, or replaces the threatened traditional economies while still respecting the principles of sustainable development, including environmental protection. In addition, within Arctic States, in many international fora, and in other organizations, capacity building is an on-going, priority issue. An Arctic Council initiative in this regard would recognize and contribute to this overall effort in a way that enhances the practical benefits of Arctic cooperation. This paper proposes that a capacity building focus be directed at virtually all activities of the Arctic Council, including the work of its five Working Groups (AMAP, CAFF, EPPR, PAME, SDWG). It is recognized that capacity building has close associations with themes in the Sustainable Development Program; however, as is described below, capacity building involves all Arctic Council programs. The recommendations in this paper include on-going information sharing, but stress the need for a focus on ways to enhance access to, understanding of, and application of information in Arctic communities. This information-sharing orientation could be considered as the first phase of a capacity building focus. It is anticipated that the recommendations in this paper relating to a capacity building focus could be implemented during the next two year period of the Arctic Council without allocation of significant new resources. It is recognized that capacity building is an on-going process that must proceed in a coordinated and integrated way at many levels including individual, local, national, regional and international. As a first phase, the information-sharing and networking recommendations in this paper would set the stage for concrete project proposals during subsequent periods.