Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 29, 2011 - 5:53 am

Nunavut kicks off three-day poverty summit

Premier Eva Aariak wants a plan "that will lead us down a path to a better life"

SARAH ROGERS
About 50 participants will spend the next three days at Nunavut’s poverty summit in Iqaluit, helping to draft an action plan to reduce poverty across the territory. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
About 50 participants will spend the next three days at Nunavut’s poverty summit in Iqaluit, helping to draft an action plan to reduce poverty across the territory. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

Nunavut’s poverty summit opened Nov. 28 in Iqaluit, with territorial leaders pledging to improve the quality of life by embracing traditional Inuit values.

The summit’s approximately 50 participants — including elected officials, government employees and social services workers — plan to spend the next three days drafting a poverty reduction action plan for Nunavut.

“Now we can agree on a plan with steps that will lead us down a path to a better life,” Premier Eva Aariak said at the summit’s opening Monday evening. “Our ancestors are very innovative and that is why we’re here today. This plan will be built on our current strengths and assets. How can we make better use of the abundant resources we already have?”

Discussions during the closed three-day meetings will draw on action reports compiled from roundtable discussions held in Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay, Pond Inlet and Iqaluit since the project was launched in October 2010.

Those discussions highlighted some major themes for poverty reduction, such as the need for better income support and social housing across the territory.

Nunavummiut who participated in roundtable discussions also talked about the need for more healing and wellness programs, better mental health support and access to country food, concerns that set Nunavut apart from other regions of the country.

These issues will require a made-in-Nunavut solution, Ed McKenna, director of the Nunavut Anti-Poverty Secretariat, told Nunatsiaq News last June.

“This means the answer is in our hands,” McKenna said.

Nunavut’s poverty reduction plan is considered a long-term project.

But its architects have promised a plan with items which will provide guidance to government departments and regional organizations .

“This is a plan for which everyone one of us is capable,” Aariak said.

The summit wraps up Nov. 30, when Aariak and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Cathy Towtongie will present the final plan.

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