The overarching goal of IHACC is to combine science and Indigenous Knowledge to empower Indigenous peoples and their health systems to adapt to climate change. Intervention is a key component of the research program which involves the following key components:
- Baseline research: Assessing current and future vulnerability of remote Indigenous health systems to climate change in the study regions will provide the basis for working with communities and partners to identify opportunities for adaptation.
- Pilot interventions: In each community at least one pilot adaptation intervention will be implemented. Examples identified during project development include: youth elder programs to transfer Indigenous Knowledge on health in a changing climate, negotiating access to confiscated lands to permit access to traditional medicines, developing rainwater harvesting programs to provide fresh water, and provision of mosquito nets in the face of increasing malaria risk. Interventions will be funded by IHACC, and monitored and evaluated by the scientific team, community members, and partners. Opportunities for scaling up and comparisons between regions will complete the assessment of the intervention as a potential policy entry point.
- Adaptation planning: Building upon the research, pilot interventions, and comparison across the study regions, adaptation plans that identify and prioritize adaptation intervention and assess the sustainability of current policies, will be developed. Plans will be targeted local, regional, national and international levels. Reflecting the importance of oral cultures in the study regions, at a local level adaptation planning will focus on getting people to think about adaptation, working with local communicators and elders to develop stories, theatre, and radio dramas etc.
- Indigenous knowledge bank (IKB): At the request of communities and partner organizations, IHACC will fund the creating of IKBs which store and make accessible the research conducted here and traditional knowledge on health. The aim is to make Indigenous Knowledge available in perpetuity to inform adaptation.
- Community adaptation leaders (CALSs): IHACC will employ full-time local research assistants in each community for the duration of the project. We term them CALs because they will be trained in the science and politics of climate change, policy environments, importance of Indigenous Knowledge, rights etc and will have the skills and knowledge to continue the adaptation process after the project is complete. They are also essential to the success of the research program providing an important link between the scientific team and community members. Capacity creation of this nature is essential for adaptation.
- Enhancing capacity of partner organizations: During pilot research, partner organizations noted the need for training in the science and politics of climate change. IHACC will provide this training and actively involve partners in the project.
To this end, IHACC will link into a number of ongoing intervention projects in the study regions, building upon completed work and existing capacity, to integrate specific climate change priorities.