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Report on IASC SHWG at ASSW 2023

Reported by: Nobuhiro Kishigami (National Museum of Ethnology)
Related research program: Human Society

The annual meeting of the Social and Human Working Group (SHWG) of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) was held during the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) 2023 in Vienna, Austria, on February 19, 2023. Nobuhiro Kishigami (National Museum of Ethnology) attended the hybrid annual conference of the SHWG online to represent Japan. However, poor connection due to technical issues in the hosting organization resulted in a major delay in the starting time of the event, and several discussions were omitted.

The meeting focused on the importance of indigenous participation in social and human research, promoting the decolonization of Arctic research, providing research funding to indigenous peoples and organizations, engaging people who hold indigenous rights in academic research, the importance of the co-production of knowledge through collaboration between scientists and indigenous people, and the training of young researchers.

A discussion on the strategic planning of future Arctic research was also held. Challenges related to the population (COVID-19-related impacts on Arctic communities, infectious disease monitoring, migration), issues related to climate change (food sovereignty and security, factors that determine social and environmental health, changes to the landscape and impacts on communities, community adaptation), challenges related to cooperation in the Arctic (geopolitics and cooperation, political decision-making, comparison of health and social policies and evidence-based policies), issues related to community prosperity (cultural well-being, spiritual wellness, indigenous languages, earth-based observation, and healing), and challenges related to land use and sustainable lifestyles (resource development, land sovereignty, and land use by indigenous peoples) were discussed during the annual SHWG meeting. Other focal points of interdisciplinary research that the SHWG participates in were methods, responsible research practices, innovations in knowledge sharing and diffusion, an interdisciplinary lens and approaches, and capacity building.

Finally, one chairperson and two deputy chairpersons for the next term were selected at this meeting. Dr. Catherine Chambers from Iceland was selected as the new chairperson, and Dr. Barbora Halašková from the Czech Republic and Dr. Ingrid Agnete Medby from the UK were selected as deputy chairs.