WCS Issues Report on COVID-19 and Indigenous Peoples

June 29, 2020

New York, NY, June 29—Around the globe each day, there are new reports of cases of COVID-19 confirmed among Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs). Both are particularly vulnerable to health impacts, including COVID-19, because of inadequate access to healthcare and underlying health conditions such as diabetes, and respiratory disease. These are often a consequence of historical colonization and ongoing neglect by government agencies and changes in diets and lifeways associated with more frequent interaction with outsiders.

Our long-term work on wildlife health and our close and trusted connections with local partners make it clear that it is vital at this time to create space to better understand and highlight the concerns of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, and encourage federal and state government agencies to invest in a One Health approach that will explicitly address their current and future needs.

As other countries around the world also take steps to minimize the risk of future zoonotic disease outbreaks, it is imperative that IPLCs who likely will be affected by such proposed legislation are actively engaged in these important decisions.

In this report, WCS suggests seven ways forward to support IPLCs efforts as they act to protect their health and survive this and future zoonotic disease epidemics. How these suggestions are implemented will depend on the local and national context.

Download the Document

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