Annual monitoring of the health of the indigenous peoples of the Far North will help prevent the negative impact of climate change on their well-being, experts at FANU Vostokgosplan believe.
They came to this conclusion during the development of a sectoral action plan for adaptation to climate change in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation.
«Climate change in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation may affect the health of the indigenous population. This is associated with the penetration of «southern» infections to the north, deformation of the cryolithozone, which in the conditions of active development of the Arctic, especially in the field of fuel energy, leads to environmental threats,» the experts say.
They explain that an increase in the number of abnormal weather events, characteristic of a warming climate, leads to difficulties in transport communications and inaccessibility of medical care, and is also one of the risk factors of flooding, chemical and microbial pollution of rivers and seas, and as a consequence, intestinal infectious diseases and intoxications».
Therefore, to assess and prevent the negative impact of climate change on the well-being of indigenous peoples of the Arctic it is necessary to conduct annual health monitoring of the residents of Nenets AO, Yamalo-Nenets AO, Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, Krasnoyarsk Territory (Taimyr) and Chukotka.
«The most important monitoring points are in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, as this territory is home to the largest number of residents leading a nomadic lifestyle, the greatest environmental, health and social risks are predicted, and the most active industrial development of the territory is underway,» the analysts report.
Thus, scientific research on bioresources of the Arctic should be included in the system of monitoring the health of the indigenous population. «In order to provide work for the indigenous population, it is necessary to create new jobs enabling them to lead a traditional way of life, but not to increase the number of reindeer. Such an opportunity is provided by the harvesting of tundra vegetative raw materials,» the experts explain.
At the same time, they note, only a small part of biological resources of the Arctic is currently used, because in the conditions of enormous distances, extremely expensive logistics and life support, a short season of harvesting bioresources, shortage of workers during the harvesting season and unemployment during the rest of the year, either a business with high profitability, or a traditional natural economy, which minimizes costs, can exist.
To solve this problem, experts suggest combining modern technology and the traditional experience of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic, combining high profitability of the end product and the sustainability of the traditional economy.
«It is impossible to solve such a problem without interdisciplinary scientific research that would link into a single chain the study of adaptation mechanisms to Arctic conditions, the development of functional food and dietary supplements for people working and living in the Arctic, the development of methods to increase the profitability of using local plant and animal raw materials for business, the development of methods to obtain products from previously unused raw materials to expand the range of harvesting and providing year-round work for indigenous people