There are challenges at the social, technological and resourcing level to be addressed
Community-based observing is a supplementary approach to scientist- executed methods whereby indigenous and local people, of which there are over one million in the Arctic, are directly involved in data collection and sometimes data interpretation, and in which monitoring is often linked to the decisions of local stakeholders, using methods that are simple, cheap and require few resources. Community-based observing can build relations between local stakeholders and the authorities, thereby stimulating local action and resulting in a dynamic and adaptive resource management.
Some of the challenges to be overcome include 1) scepticism about whether indigenous and local people can produce high quality data; 2) limited ability or political will, to listen to the ‘voice’ of indigenous and local people by some decision-makers and government staff; 3) there is minimal knowledge of which of the community-based observing programs can potentially plug gaps and improve available databases for global and regional assessments; 4) few mobile devices and digital technologies that enable access to web-based solutions have been tested in the harsh Arctic environment; 5) expanding the number of sites with observing programs while ensuring a high standard of sampling protocols without precluding programs from being responsive to local circumstances and needs and 6) sustaining the programs, both financially and institutionally, and to maintain participation of residents. INTAROS is working closely with a number of local communities in order to address these various challenges.