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Climate Change Related Impacts on Food Insecurity and Governance in the United States and Canadian Arctic Open Access

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Arctic communities have shifted from being relatively self-sufficient to being a mixed subsistence based community – relying on traditional and nontraditional food to survive. Climate change has also made dramatic physical impacts on the region, affecting the ability to meet their dietary needs. The aim of this thesis is to examine climate change in the area, show how climate change has rendered the region extremely vulnerable to food insecurity and research ways governing organizations and structures deal with food insecurity and other factors that may directly affect food insecurity.After examining climate change impacts in the region and on food insecurity, attention was turned towards investigating how shipping; economics and social change; and resource development and directly or indirectly exacerbated food insecurity. Human security was highlighted as an expectation from the international context that could be the basis or theme from which action could be taken to address food security now and in the coming years. It was determined that as a cross cutting expectation, food insecurity in the Arctic may be an issue of governance, not human security, and would therefore require interjection from governing regimes.International agreements should have an influence on national level policies. Starting with an analysis at the international level and focusing on national level policies, compared to Canada, it seems U.S. policies do not line up with UN policy efforts to have greater focus on food security and hence do not translate into U.S. policy objectives that protect culture and rights such as hunting rights and thus help with food insecurity. I found Canada to be more proactive and the U.S. reactive. There appears to be two key reasons for this disconnect. The first is that much focus by the U.S. government has been placed on Alaska’s crumbling infrastructure and immediate relocation needs while the other lies in fundamental differences in approaches to Arctic policy based on interpretation. Finally, I recommend that gaining a better understanding of how the U.S. sets Arctic policy may be the answer in prioritizing food security in the Arctic.

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