Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 348

348         Arctic Yearbook 2014 (Government of Canada 2011). Efforts did accelerate in 2011 to complete the reviews and MPA designations of these 12 priority areas. However, as Sabine Jessen (2013) warns “with cutbacks now to budgets at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada and Parks Canada, we are seriously concerned about the government’s capacity to move ahead in creating and managing effective [MPAs]” (Jessen 2013). Indeed, both this lack of capacity and the evisceration of the Canada’s Environmental Assessment Act in 2012 mark a radical departure from the cross-sector cooperative approach to marine resource governance that previously supported both MPA establishment and integrated ocean planning. In the late 1990s, for example, Canada committed itself to the integrated management planning processes outlined in the Oceans Act through work undertaken as part of the Beaufort Sea Integrated Management Planning Initiative (BSIMPI). This period in time was marked by yet another industry ramp up of hydrocarbon exploration and development in the Mackenzie Delta-Beaufort Sea – an area which falls within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Canadian western Arctic. The concerns that surrounded these escalating development activities are very similar to those surrounding Lancaster Sound and many other areas of the circumpolar Arctic today. The Inuvialuit of the area struggled over the potential impact new development would have on their environment, food sources and way of life while at the same time welcoming the economic support that these activities might bring to their communities. At the same time, entrepreneurial hydrocarbon industries found themselves lost in what they felt to be the Arctic’s ongoing blizzard of regulatory uncertainty and legal complexity. In 2001, Inuvialuit management, industry and DFO put Canada’s integrated management framework to the test. The BSIMPI Management Committee was organized to evaluate a proposal to establish a Marine Protected Area for an important Beluga whale aggregation area in the Beaufort Sea. The goal of this effort was the minimization of potential conflict between ocean-related activities and diverse resource users. In 2009, these early integrated management efforts culminated in the release of the Integrated Ocean Management Plan for the Beaufort Sea and the official announcement of the Tarium Niryutait Marine Protected Area in 2010. Berkes et al. (2005) describe the level, depth and extent of the consultative process involved in the BSIMPI as “exceeding that of other consultative processes which had to date been conducted in the communities” (104). Indeed, the BSIMPI efforts - and those it would stimulate in the years to come - involved an intensive program of outreach and community building exercises within and across industry, members of the local community and the natural environment. Persistent cross-sector engagement was believed to have promoted trust, aided in the identification of alternative solutions acceptable to all parties, encouraged better definition of the issues and problems involved and increased the sense of ownership all parties maintained in the proposed plans and solutions (Berkes et al. 2005). Today, the management context of the Beaufort Sea and the industry players pursuing development projects in and around the Tarium Niryutait MPA are both changing rapidly. A recent devolution agreement between Ottawa and the Northwest Territories is minimizing federal oversight of projects and NWT leaders have begun courting new South Korean and Chinese investors to fund resource Sojka