Good Practice Recommendations for Environmental Impact Assessment and Public Participation in the Arctic 

The objectives of the project are:

  • To ensure that environmental considerations specific to the Arctic  including social and  health aspects, are explicitly addressed and incorporated into the  planning, design and decision making of large-scale economic projects.  
  • To identify existing good practices through sharing and learning with the aim of developing good practice recommendations for EIA in the Arctic.
  • To promote meaningful practices of public participation, especially the participation of indigenous peoples, and the integration of traditional and local knowledge in EIA within the Arctic.
  • To build a viable network of Arctic EIA actors.

This project is a flagship initiative of the Finnish Chairmanship (2017-2019).

GCI Initiatives as Part of the "Good Practices in EIA Project"

GCI is co-leading this project. In addition to the overall project activities listed below, GCI will be hosting a Workshop in Inuvik and has commissioned research as part of this project.

GCI Hosted Workshop in Inuvik, April 19-20, 2018

On April 19-20, 2018, organizations with a role in Environmental Impact Assessment have been invited to take part in a two-day Workshop. The Workshop will focus on capacity-building, as well as gathering insights to contribute to the larger project.  

GCI Commissioned Research

GCI has commissioned two research studies as part of this project:

  • Emerging Practices and Options for Effective Indigenous-led Project Assessment in the Arctic: The report is being created by The Firelight Group. It describes the strengths and limitations of existing indigenous-led Environmental Assessment in the Arctic region and elsewhere, with particular focus on case studies and examples from the Canadian context, in order to characterize a spectrum of practices and emerging best practices. See: PDF iconFirelight Gwich'in Indigenous led review_FINAL_web.pdf
  • Overview of Gwich'in Involvement in Environmental Impact Assessments: describes the roles and responsibilities of Gwich'in organizations in Environmental Impact Assessment and the legal landscape which shapes involvement. See: PDF iconGwich'in Involvement in EIA - An Overview_Low Res.pdf

Editorial Committee Representative

Gwich'in Council International is represented in the overall project Editorial Committee by Adam Chamberlain.

Adam Chamberlain is a partner in Gowling WLG’s Toronto office.

Certified as a Specialist in Environmental Law by the Law Society of Ontario, Adam has practised environmental and regulatory law for most of his career, focused on natural resources and infrastructure development. Adam's practice encompasses diverse matters related to the environmental and other regulatory requirements involved with project development. Adam is also extensively involved in relationships between Indigenous communities, governments and project proponents, including on matters related to all manner of developments.

Specifically, Adam has extensive experience with:

  • Environmental Assessment (EA) of projects including energy, mining and wastewater facilities.
  • Providing strategic legal advice regarding Indigenous involvement in natural resource matters and infrastructure development for Indigenous and other proponents of projects; for communities being consulted and accommodated; and regarding the provincial, territorial and federal regulatory frameworks as they relate to development and related consultation and relationship creation.
  • Advising on compliance with territorial, provincial and federal environmental legislation and regulations generally.
  • Acting as counsel regarding litigation related to environmental prosecutions, environmental assessment and other environmental approvals, including judicial review of government decisions and related appeals.
  • Advising on environmental aspects of corporate transactions, brownfield redevelopment and risks related to climate change, management of carbon and other emissions, and the related regulatory and business risks.

Steering Committee Representative

Gwich'in Council International is represented in the project Steering Committee by Sara French, who serves as a part-time Advisor to GCI. 

Sara is a leader in policy analysis and research, providing strategic council on a wide range of policy challenges. She has a particular expertise in circumpolar affairs, Indigenous issues, and Canadian foreign policy; helping clients from a variety of backgrounds to understand and strategize on a spectrum of issues. She has a keen eye towards stakeholder engagement, ensuring support for projects, partnerships, and ideas.

Sara has a Master of Arts degree at Queen’s University with a focus on Canadian foreign policy. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen’s and spent her first year of studies at the International Study Centre at Hertsmonceux Castle in the United Kingdom. 

Sara serves as an Advisor to Gwich’in Council International and is the Principal Consultant at Northern Consultants. She previously worked at The Gordon Foundation for over six years, leading the Foundation’s programs on circumpolar studies and the Jane Glassco Fellowship for northern youth. She has had the honour to work alongside an impressive host of former heads of state and government at the InterAction Council. She also worked at the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform in the United Kingdom, while participating in the Hansard Research Scholar’s Programme at the London School of Economics. She has also spent time at the Mission of Canada to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium and has worked in the British Virgin Islands. 

Project-Wide Initiatives

Questionnaire

We are seeking the feedback of experts to a questionnaire geared at informing the recommendations for this project. If you prefer to have a telephone interview, please contact: gciadmin@gwichin.nt.ca. The questionnaire can be answered online at: https://www.lyyti.fi/questions/241697814d.

Preliminary questionnaire results have been compiled in the following documents:

Workshops

Regional Workshops were held to gather information into best practices in Barrow, Alaska (November 2017) and Rovaniemi, Finland (December 2018). The Canadian Workshop will take place in Yellowknife, April 23-26, 2018.

Updates

Below are a project background, as well as newsletter updates about the project.