Section 15.4.1 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement states that “The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB), the Nunavut Water Board (NWB), the Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC), and the NWMB may jointly, as a Nunavut Marine Council (NMC), or severally advise and make recommendations to other government agencies regarding the marine areas, and Government shall consider such advice and recommendations in making decisions which affect marine areas”
Importance of the Marine Environment
Coastal and marine areas have long been valued by Nunavummiut, and are central to the identity, economic stability and spiritual well-being of Inuit. While controlled development has many potential benefits in Nunavut, but it is critical that the natural resources and Inuit culture remain protected for future generations. Sustainable development – meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs - is not a foreign concept to Inuit. In fact, it blends seamlessly with the principles of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, which guide the NMC in carrying out its duties.
The Arctic marine environment is currently undergoing profound changes. These changes are expected to continue and to intensify in the coming decades. The NMC has been established to ensure that an informed and relevant Nunavut voice is both raised and considered in addressing the resulting significant Arctic marine issues of such importance to Nunavummiut.
Objective of the NMC
Recognizing that the well-being of Nunavut’s marine environment is critical to Nunavummiut and all other Canadians, the NMC seeks to achieve the following objective:
“To ensure the ongoing protection and wise use of the marine areas for the long-term benefit of Inuit and the rest of the public of Nunavut and Canada, in a manner consistent with the principles of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and of NLCA Article 15.”
In order to achieve this objective, the NMC has developed a Business Case that describes:
- The physical, social, cultural, economic and organizational environment in which the Council is operating;
- Marine issues of particular importance to Nunavut; and
- Relevant details of the administration and operation of the NMC, and of the Council’s plans to be an effective voice for Nunavut.
Marine Issues that May be of Interest to the NMC
Marine issues of primary interest to the NMC fall within the following four general categories:
- Awareness Issues: The NMC will promote awareness of issues that affect or may affect marine areas, particularly the need to ensure the ongoing protection and wise use of the marine areas for the long-term benefit of Inuit and the rest of the public of Nunavut and Canada.
- Policy Issues: The NMC will review existing policy that affects or may affect marine areas, comment on new policy initiatives, and advocate the need for additional or revised policy, as required.
- Regulatory Issues: The NMC will, when warranted, review existing and proposed legislation that affects or may affect marine areas, and will attempt to identify gaps in – or necessary improvements to – such legislation. The NMC may also advocate the need for additional or revised legislation, as required.
- Technical Issues: Recognizing that primary technical expertise resides in Government and agencies other than the NMC, the NMC may provide advice and recommendations, when warranted, with respect to technical matters that affect or may affect marine areas.
Functions of the Nunavut Marine Council
In conducting its analysis, and in formulating and providing its advice and recommendations, the Council plans to concentrate on:
- Promoting public awareness of issues that affect or may affect marine areas;
- Consulting with Nunavummiut concerning those marine issues of most concern to them;
- Monitoring Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, science, literature, government, media and industry reports regarding changes, developments and concerns relevant to the marine areas; and
- Reviewing existing or proposed regulatory, policy, research, development and management planning initiatives that affect, or may in the future affect, the marine areas - and advocating the need for improvements, as required.