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Co-chairs: Eva Kruemmel (Inuit Circumpolar Council - Canada)

Jean Allen (Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated)

Emma Pike (Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada)

 

Contaminants research in the Arctic is leading to a greater global understanding of how contaminants might impact northern ecosystems and human health, and how they might interact with other environmental stressors such as climate change. The research has allowed for enhanced knowledge to provide public health advice regarding environmental contaminants in the North, and to address questions and concerns of local communities. It also allowed for a better understanding of how Indigenous knowledge can work alongside western science in the co-development of knowledge. In particular, community-based monitoring has been increasingly acknowledged as providing great opportunity for a better, more holistic understanding of the northern environment, as well as cost-efficient completion of research activities in remote regions. Establishing community-based monitoring programs also allows for the building of capacity in local communities, and better opportunities to directly utilize Indigenous knowledge in research and monitoring activities.

This session will highlight examples and recent advances in northern contaminants research and monitoring, in particular community-based contaminants monitoring and research, and initiatives that have promoted the use of Indigenous knowledge in northern contaminants research. The session will also highlight recent efforts to communicate results of these studies in a benefit-risk context. The session will give insight into experiences so far, what works well and where there are challenges, as well as future directions to address what is needed to better connect local, regional, national, and global scales in contaminants research.