New Report on Food Security in Northern Canada Cites Need to Protect Environment

The report and executive summary and a video are available for download, free of charge, on the council's website,

A report on food security in northern Canada, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, highlights the importance of a healthy marine environment in sustaining traditional diets for Inuit and Aboriginal peoples, says Henry Huntington, The Pew Charitable Trusts' Arctic science director.

"Conserving the environment is one important way to address food insecurity," says Huntington, who worked on the Canadian nonprofit group's report, Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge. "Pew's work with Inuit and Inuvialuit partners on marine conservation in the Canadian Arctic helps protect the places and traditional practices that have allowed people to thrive there since time immemorial."

Huntington served on the 15-member multidisciplinary expert panel that oversaw the report. He works with Pew's Oceans North Canada on issues that include protecting Arctic fisheries, supporting community-based ecological monitoring, and establishing marine conservation areas for habitat that indigenous communities rely on.

The panel took a holistic approach to the assessment and developed a unique, people-centered framework that highlighted the dynamic interplay between northern Aboriginal peoples and the diverse factors that affect their lives. The report explored a number of complex issues and provided insights into rates of food insecurity; the effect of factors such as geography and culture on food security; challenges associated with traditional and country food; the integration of market foods into northern communities; environmental impacts; poverty; and economic challenges and opportunities.

The report was requested by Canada's then-minister of health, Leona Aglukkaq, who is now minister of the environment and chair of the Arctic Council. It will provide Canadian governments, northern Aboriginal and Inuit leaders, academics, and others interested in food security with a foundation of knowledge for addressing this pressing policy issue.

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