January 24, 2005

Ottawa to invest more than $382K in Northern Ecosystems Initiative projects

Under the Northern Ecosystems Initiative (NEI) program, the federal government will invest more than $382,000 between now and 2008 in environmental research projects designed to benefit Inuit communities in Nunavik. The Kativik Regional Authority (KRA) will receive $135,000 for a study of the impact of climate change in the eastern Arctic and sub-Arctic Canada. It will also be given a grant of $152,000 to complete projects relating to the characterization of mining exploration sites. In addition, the KRA will receive a contribution of $15,000 from the NEI to identify plants and vegetation around the Inuit communities in Nunavik.

The Makivik Corporation will receive $25,000 to complete a study of the feasibility of creating a computerized database relating to contaminated sites in northern Quebec. This organization, in conjunction with the Quebec region office of Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service, will be given $55,000 to complete a study of the ecology and dynamics of the eider duck population in Ungava Bay.

Nunavik consists of a group of 14 villages in northern Quebec around Ungava Bay and the eastern shore of Hudson Bay. Its mainly Inuit residents are beneficiaries of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. Unlike other First Nations, Nunavik Inuit are taxpayers in their own right, paying both federal and provincial taxes on all the products and services they purchase.

Makivik Corporation represents the political, social, and economic rights of the Nunavik Inuit. Its activities include treaty negotiations, environmental impact evaluations, social and environmental research, renewable resource development, and various local and regional economic development activities.

The NEI program, established in 1998, promotes synergy between the scientific communities and the inhabitants of the North and combines local, traditional and scientific forms of knowledge. Its work focuses on five priorities: climate change, contaminants, activities linked to resource exploitation, monitoring and skills development.

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