Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 220

220 Arctic Yearbook 2014 investments, and types of assets invested in. This can help build confidence amongst the people of the NWT that resource revenues are being used effectively and responsibly. Issue 4: Strengthen Citizen Engagement A Heritage Fund is a new concept to most residents of the NWT. Although the GNWT has held public consultations on the Heritage Fund in 2013, ongoing public education and engagement will be important in order to promote public awareness (GNWT 2013e). Continued communication can help equip residents with the skills and knowledge to act as independent overseers to benefit the Fund and its future. Public oversight, beyond the independent body of the Supervisory Council, can be an important force that can help ensure the government follows its own rules and principles to meet the Heritage Fund’s objectives. The more the public understands and supports the long-term objectives of the Fund, the more it will hold current and future governments to account to protect the integrity of its original purpose. The viability and success of these funds depends on the public’s support for them. For example, Norway enjoys broad public support as a point of national pride and, in Alaska, support is retained through the paying of annual dividends to each citizen (MacKinnon 2013). Conclusion: Conditions for Tomorrow’s Prosperity On April 1, 2014, NWT citizens gained greater control over their lands and resources for the first time since confederation. As non-renewable resources are discovered and developed in the territory, one of the government’s priorities is to foster well-being for future generations. The future success of the legislated NWT Heritage Fund will depend on strong governance, broad public support, and an effective system of checks and balances to ensure that mineral wealth benefits NWT citizens today and tomorrow. Lessons must be learned from past development and from success and failures alike. The landscape continues to change, opening up new pressures for resource extraction. Northern communities are at the front lines of extreme developments and dramatic environmental implications. For these communities, cultural identity – and survival – is at stake. Furthermore, despite enormous mineral deposits, abject poverty persists in Indigenous communities near lucrative mine sites in the NWT (Irlbacher Fox 2012). Challenges in attaining high quality education, accessing health services, and securing nutritious foods persist. A major challenge is how to harness increased economic, development, and research interests to include and benefit those who reside in Canada’s North. The ability of northern territories to absorb the potential benefits of increased economic activity in the region is closely linked to building strong human capital, with a foundation of high quality education systems (Smits, Bertelsen, Justinussen 2014).   Building human capital, including the capacity for resource revenue management aligned with global standards, is pivotal to transcending historical cycles of “boom and bust.” Localizing decision-making and providing accountability, tra