Event: UBC hosts seminar on Indigenous Peoples’ right to traditional economies, sustainable development, and food security in an age of climate change

What are the opportunities and challenges surrounding Indigenous Peoples’ right to traditional economies, sustainable development and food security in the age of climate change?

On Feb. 8-9, media are invited to join as Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics, practitioners, advocates and other Indigenous human rights experts discuss these questions and more at an expert seminar at UBC in support of the work of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP).

“In addressing the pressing issue of the climate crisis, it is imperative to recognize that Indigenous Peoples consistently find themselves at the forefront, bearing the consequences that extend to their livelihoods and sustenance,” said seminar host, Dr. Sheryl Lightfoot, chair of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “Article 20 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples unequivocally asserts their entitlement to the pursuit of self-sustenance, development, and the unrestricted engagement in traditional and alternative economic endeavors. This seminar will delve into these critical matters, offering insights and recommendations to guide states in safeguarding the fundamental human rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The seminar discussions will inform a report on the topic presented to the 60th session of the Human Rights Council in 2025.

The full agenda, including panelists, can be found here. Students and members of the public are welcome to observe via live stream.

Date/time: Thursday, Feb. 8, and Friday, Feb. 9, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Location: Robert H. Lee Family Boardroom at the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, 6163 University Blvd., Vancouver or via live stream (LINK)

If you are a member of the media and would like to attend in-person, please RSVP to: sachi.wickramasinghe@ubc.ca

Panel topics include:

  • Indigenous knowledge and traditional economies in the context of climate change: An exploration of how Indigenous communities draw upon traditional knowledge to navigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change on their economies. Case studies will highlight survival strategies employed by Indigenous groups in the face of changing environmental conditions.
  • Indigenous food systems, fisheries and coastal cultures: An exploration of Indigenous food systems and their role in ensuring food security in coastal cultures. Insights into sustainable fishing practices and the challenges faced by Indigenous communities in maintaining their fishing livelihoods, and a consideration of how traditional knowledge contributes to the preservation of fisheries and coastal cultures.
  • Climate change, livelihoods and food sovereignty: An examination of the impact of climate change on Indigenous livelihoods and traditional economies. Case studies from regions like Siberia, reindeer husbandry and their unique challenges and solutions.
  • Human rights, Indigenous law and social development for sustainable livelihoods: Insights into social development initiatives that empower Indigenous communities to support their traditional economies and an analysis of the intersection between Indigenous rights, social development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The seminar is hosted by Dr. Sheryl Lightfoot, professor in the department of political science and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC and co-sponsored by the Office of Indigenous Strategic Initiatives (OISI) at UBC. Funding was provided by the Academic Excellence Fund, UBC, and with special help provided by the Canadian Friends Service Committee.