Under the general direction of the Grand Chief, the Circumpolar Relations Department has been established to monitor and address international and circumpolar issues that may affect the interests of Yukon First Nations peoples. The Circumpolar Relations office manages the Northern Contaminants Program, and climate change initiatives.

The Northern Contaminants Program was established in 1991 in response to concerns that contaminants were reaching the Canadian Arctic. During the first six years, research was focused on gathering the data required to determine the levels, geographic extent, and source of contaminants in the northern atmosphere, environment and its peoples. Monitoring in the Yukon has continued to show that our traditional foods are very safe to eat and highly nutritious. Today, the Circumpolar Relations unit continues to communicate results and monitor for new types of contaminants in the Yukon.

For more information go to www.northerncontaminants.ca.

The Circumpolar Relations Unit took the comments given at the CYFN General Assembly in 1999-2000 and began work in the area of climate change. Specific work includes climate change impacts and adaptations as it relates to community health, human-environments and ecosystems, and the promotion of energy efficient technologies and the reduction green house gas emissions.

The Arctic Athabaskan Council continues to serve the CYFN as their aboriginal representative organization for circumpolar and international affairs. The CYFN Circumpolar Relations’ mandate is to ensure Yukon First Nations interests are effectively represented in the Arctic Council and other international environmental fora.

For more information go to www.arcticathabaskancouncil.com.