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Arctic Social Indicators : measuring change in human development in the Artic


The Arctic Social Indicators (ASI) project, an endorsed project of the Arctic Council, is aimed
at devising a small set of indicators that reflect key aspects of human development in the
Arctic. The indicators must be manageable in terms of measurement and affordable in regard
to labor and material resources as the objective is to use them in monitoring change in human
development in the region over time. As to insure that the devised indicators are good
representatives, the project also seeks to “test” them with existing data and in discussion with
representatives from various communities of the Arctic.
The ASI and its working process is the focus of this thesis, where the methods of
literature research, participant-observation and interviews, were used. The author attended the
first ASI workshop, as well as a meeting of the Sustainable Development Working Group
(SDWG) of the Arctic Council under which the ASI is being developed. The ASI was
discussed with representatives of indigenous organizations as to hear their opinions on the
ASI process as well as on how indigenous peoples should be included.
An achievement of the first ASI workshop was a selection of six domains for which
indicators needed to be selected. Further achievements were a selection of criteria for use in
finding the best suited indicators as well as a selection of preliminary indicators for three of
the six domains. Discussions at the SDWG meeting regarding the ASI were positive as well
as indigenous respondents were positive towards the ASI domains. Regarding the consultation
process, suggestions were on using the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat of the Arctic Council,
as well as a suggestion was on the ASI members going to the basic community to talk to the


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