Waterloo researcher presents at the 16th session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Diverse knowledge and expertise are critical in understanding the intersections between health and climate change. Indigenous and local knowledge are fundamental in tackling this area of research and supporting the co-production of knowledge, bringing generations of wisdom, experience and practices to the discussion.

Waterloo researcher Dr. Laura Jane Brubacher presented at a side event to the 16th session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) on July 20 in Geneva, Switzerland. Established by the Human Rights Council, EMRIP advances the promotion and protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. The side event, organized by UNESCO's Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems program, brought together Indigenous Peoples, scientists, policymakers, and organizations from across the globe to facilitate dialogue on experiences, lessons learned and approaches for bridging the gap between Indigenous Knowledge and scientific processes.

“I was honoured to be part of the event” said Brubacher, professor and postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Public Health Sciences at Waterloo. “This was an opportunity to listen, to learn from others' lived experiences, expertise and knowledge and to share research results on behalf of a broader collaboration."

Alongside a diverse group of panelists from all around the world, Brubacher presented findings from a systematic umbrella review on the multidimensional impacts of climate change on Indigenous Peoples' health and well-being and opportunities for inclusion and prioritization of diverse knowledge systems in climate-health responses.

Brubacher is part of an interdisciplinary research team supported by the Waterloo Climate Institute that was commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct the review, which explores the linkages between Indigenous health, environment, biodiversity and climate change, with gender considerations as a cross-cutting theme.

Along with Brubacher, other researchers leading this work include Dr. Hannah Tait Neufeld (Principal Investigator), Dr. Warren Dodd, Dr. Susan Elliott, Kaitlyn Patterson, Tara Chen, Laura Peach and University of Guelph professor Dr. Sheri Longboat.

The WHO also convened a global group of Indigenous experts who informed the research design and guided the research team's work.

Through the work with the WHO, Waterloo researchers are contributing to critical research on the intersections between climate change and Indigenous health and well-being. The WHO plans to use the review for its next general program of work to support member states’ work on climate change and health, and to feed into the health section of the forthcoming 2024 UNDESA State of the World's Indigenous Peoples (SOWIP) report.

Laura Jane Brubacher sitting on panel

Dr. Laura Jane Brubacher presenting at EMRIP in Geneva, Switzerland
L to R: Tommaso Abrate, Laura Jane Brubacher, AehshatouManu, Vital Bambanze

Attendees at the side event

Attendees at the side event at the 16th session of the EMRIP