Biden administration releases USD 1 million for Alaskan climate resilience

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden will provide USD 1 million (EUR 920,000) to support climate resilience and food security in remote Alaskan communities and incorporate more indigenous knowledge into NOAA’s fisheries science initiatives.

“This opportunity will enable entities working to benefit indigenous knowledge holders, including tribes and Alaska Native community members to advance equity and environmental justice – including just treatment, equal opportunities and environmental benefits for all people and communities, and respect for tribal sovereignty,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said. “Through this effort we hope to support research projects that address community concerns while enabling NOAA Fisheries to meet its research mission through collaborative and co-produced research.”

Up to USD 500,000 (EUR 460,000) in fiscal 2024 funding will be distributed via the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Indigenous Engagement Program and used for one of three purposes:

“NOAA Fisheries recently produced its first Equity and Environmental Justice Policy with a goal of better serving all communities more equitably and effectively,” NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit said. “Through this funding opportunity, we hope to put that policy into practice by supporting efforts that build partnerships and promote knowledge sharing to advance climate adaptation and planning for Alaska communities on the frontlines of climate change.”

Funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, the money will support five to 15 innovative projects annually, with each project receiving between USD 15,000 and USD 50,000 (EUR 14,000 and EUR 46,000).

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) has worked to build a framework for specifically incorporating traditional knowledge into its processes, and in May, NOAA Fisheries announced that it would be updating its national standards to address equity in the representation of local fishing communities. In a field hearing in Alaska in November, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and tribal representatives agreed that traditional knowledge needs to be considered in fisheries management. The Biden administration has also pushed for more inclusion, issuing an indigenous knowledge guidance in December 2022 on incorporating indigenous knowledge in federal research, policy and decision-making.