The Arctic Human Development Report AHDR

The AHDR is the first comprehensive assessment of human well-being covering the entire Arctic region.

Mandated under the Arctic Council’s 2002 Ministerial Declaration as a “priority project” designed to provide a “comprehensive knowledge base” for the work of the Council’s Sustainable Development Programme, the AHDR was a centerpiece of the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council during 2002-2004 … (full text, November 2004).

Download the report (Cover, Foreword etc., Chapters 1 to 13):

Excerpt of the Conclusion – The AHDR and the future: As we have emphasized throughout this report, the AHDR is a scientific assessment. Unlike projects featuring original research (e.g. the Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic (SLiCA)), our project has had neither the mandate nor the resources to generate new data concerning the wide range of topics addressed in the individual chapters. Rather, we have sought to synthesize existing knowledge, draw inferences from this knowledge regarding many aspects of human development in the Arctic, and identify areas where we need to know more.


An important function of an assessment is to document the state of play regarding matters of interest at a particular point in time. This is one of the central objectives of the AHDR.
Particularly with regard to crosscutting themes that are seldom looked at from a regional perspective (resource governance, community viability, human health, education, gender, and international relations), the report breaks new ground. The results are not only interesting in their own right; they also provide a starting point for future comparisons.

What concrete recommendations regarding follow-up activities can we offer in closing? Based on the efforts of all those who have contributed to the report as well as initial responses to its major findings, we can offer a number of suggestions:

  • Dissemination – The AHDR should be translated into other languages – Russian first and foremost – and made available electronically to members of the attentive public and to students,
  • Monitoring – The Sustainable Development Working Group should organize a workshop
    to begin the process of devising a small number of tractable indicators to be used in tracking changes in key elements of human development in the Arctic over time,
  • Gaps in knowledge – The Sustainable Development Working Group should organize organize
    an off-the-record brainstorming seminar or workshop to set priorities and to identify practical procedures for addressing the gaps in knowledge described in the AHDR,
  • International Polar Year input – The findings of the AHDR should be used in developing
    research plans and setting priorities for the 2007-2008 polar year,
  • Arctic Human Development posters and pamphlets – The Sustainable Development Working Group should arrange for the production of one or more posters and pamphlets that would encapsulate the major findings of the AHDR and be available for display and distribution in a variety of forums.

… (full text).

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