ARCTIC ADAPTATION EXCHANGE: Facilitating Adaptation to Climate Change - COMMUNICATIONS PLAN.
The Arctic Council is the leading international forum for Arctic cooperation, and promotes environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic region. It is comprised of eight Member States (Canada, the United States, Iceland, Norway, Finland, the Kingdom of Denmark, Sweden, and the Russian Federation) and six indigenous organizations who serve as Permanent Participants (Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich’in Council International, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, and the Saami Council). In the fall of 2013, Canada and the United States submitted a proposal to the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group to develop an online climate change adaptation information portal called the Arctic Adaptation Exchange (AAE) to enhance adaptation to climate change in the Arctic. The rationale for this initiative is that there are many regional and national websites and information portals focused on either the Arctic or climate change, but none that address both these issues to effectively leverage the wealth of information that supports adaptation in the circumpolar north. It is envisioned that the portal will enhance adaptive capacity and foster innovation, learning by doing, and the development of best practices. The Project Team consists of Canada (Natural Resources Canada, and Yukon Government, Department of Environment), the United States (State Department and University of Alaska Fairbanks – UAF), Aleut International Association, and Gwich’in Council International. In summary, the purpose of the project is to: Learn about climate change and how it is impacting the Arctic; Increase knowledge of climate change impacts and adaptation in the Arctic among those who live, work, and conduct research in the north; Map, download, and use resourceful data to allow users to connect to their communities; and Keep users returning for new ideas, discussions, expert opinions, presentations and new website links and uploads. This user outreach plan has been designed to introduce the value and utility of the portal prior to its launch. This plan will create awareness, and encourage acceptance and positive anticipation of this new knowledge creation and exchange tool. The plan will outline specific areas, responsibilities and tasks, including: i. A description of the target audiences for the outreach campaign; ii. A description of the strategies that will be employed to reach these target audiences; iii. A work plan (including strategies) and timeline, drafted in consultation with the Project Team, for the development and implementation of the user outreach plan. It will be critical to communicate with each identified target audience in a way that speaks to them, keeping in mind specific outcome expectations and access to resources that affect their capacity to participate. The structure of the portal lends itself to target audiences fluent in online communications and it is assumed these target audiences will be early adopters of the portal. Early emphasis should be on finding ways to engage target audiences that do not have that luxury, as they are the “boots on the ground” in the campaign to gather climate change adaptation information.