Community Based Monitoring

During the International Polar Year, several projects organised by Indigenous Peoples Organisations have been launched. Monitoring has traditionally been dominated by scientific observations. In recent times, the traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples has been increasingly acknowledged as a source of understanding of complex issues such as climate change. As a follow up to the success of the Indigenous contribution to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report, two monitoring projects have been launched by Indigenous Peoples' Organisations.

Bering Sea Sub-Network of Community-Based Environmental Monitoring

Lead: Aleut International Association This project will create an infrastructure for monitoring and observation by the Indigenous and other Arctic residents’ organizations based in the coastal communities of the Bering Sea region (BSR) including Bering Strait and adjacent Chukchi Sea. It will increase the capacity and effectiveness of the circum-Arctic monitoring through responding to the need of the long-term collection of data in remote Arctic locations, in particularly, in BSR that was identified as a priority monitoring area by many scientists, e.g. by the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme of the Arctic Council. The project will use IPY as an impetus to consolidate current research and jump-start new cooperative activities between scientists, indigenous and other citizens groups from the North East Russia and Alaska, U.S. Whereas, the region is known for an international cooperative research in specific species management, e.g. Gray whales and Polar bear, efforts on creation of circum-Bering Sea research interface have not been successful due to political and logistical reasons. BSSN will work specifically with community-based/place based research and will attempt to integrate these efforts with broader scientific activities in the region and globally. Read the full IPY proposal here


  • Saami University College/Nordic Saami Institute
  • International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry
  • Association of World Reindeer Herders (WRH)
  • Norwegian School of Veterinary Science and University of Tromsø
The Reindeer Herders’ Vulnerability Study (EALÀT) focuses on adaptive capacity of reindeer pastoralism to climate change and variability and, in particular, on the integration of reindeer herders’ traditional knowledge in the study and analysis of their ability to adapt to environmental variability and change. Nomadic reindeer herding practices, ancient in origin, represent models in the sustainable exploitation and management of northern terrestrial ecosystems that is based on generations of experience accumulated, conserved, developed and adapted to the climatic and administrative systems of the north. Reindeer herders’ traditional knowledge needs to be documented now before much of their understanding is lost due to societal/cultural transformations associated with globalisation. Reindeer herding is the geographically most extensive form of animal husbandry in the Eurasian Arctic and sub-Arctic. Some 3 million reindeer provide the basis of the livelihood of herders and hunters in over 20 ethnic groups, managing pasture areas of 4 million km2 which recently have become extremely important for other industrial interests (chiefly oil and gas development). Read the full IPY proposal here

Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat
Fram Centre, Postboks 6606 Langnes, NO-9296 Tromsø, Norway