SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
19 January 2017
Volume 18 Issue 1
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Indigenous Knowledge and Values in SETAC and Environmental Science – A Conference Session in Singapore

Peter Campbell, INRS Eau Terre et Environnement, Ross Smith, Hydrobiology, and Waitangi Wood, Wai Communications Ltd

The session on “Indigenous Knowledge and Values in SETAC and Environmental Science” was held on 17 September 2016 at the recent SETAC Asia/Pacific 2016 Conference in Singapore and attracted 11 platform presentations and one poster presentation.

The topics presented were wide ranging and covered issues relating to First Nations people of Canada, Maori Iwi of New Zealand and Australian Traditional Owner Groups. Discussions included both how indigenous knowledge can be incorporated into and improve environmental investigations and management strategies and also how to apply SETAC scientific approaches to provide protection of indigenous cultural and spiritual values. A central theme to all of the presentations was that the best outcomes occur when there is good collaboration among scientists, managers and indigenous communities.

Kuan-Chun Lee and Charles Menzie
The discussion session was lively and senior SETAC personnel contributed to it. SETAC Asia/Pacific President Kuan-Chun Lee and Global Executive Director Charlie Menzie both took part.

The session was one of six parallel sessions, but since the theme of the session was clearly different from the themes of the other five session tracks, the presenters managed to have a “captive” audience of close to 25–30 people who remained for the whole day and who participated actively in the discussion period that was scheduled at the end of the presentations. More than half of the presentations were given by indigenous participants, the remaining ones being presented by people who had worked with indigenous communities. The discussion was lively and engaging, and there clearly was a lot of interest in continuing the discussion within SETAC. It has led to an ongoing initiative to develop an Interest Group within SETAC to facilitate an ongoing dialogue and to promote future conference sessions on this topic.

The session was also unusual in that it attracted specific sponsors to support registration and travel costs for indigenous participants, including Newmont Asia Pacific, Elsevier, The Te Herenga Maori Network, Ngati Ranginui Iwi Society Inc., University of Waikato, Te Waananga O Awaanuiarangi, Literacy Aotearoa, Maximise Consultancy and Tau Iho I Te Po Trust. Without their support, many participants would not have been able to attend.

If you are interested in participating in the ongoing dialogue about indigenous knowledge and values within SETAC or in getting similar sessions organized at other meetings, we encourage you to contact the authors of this article.

Authors’ contact information: peter.campbell@ete.inrs.ca, ross.smith@hydrobiology.biz and waicommunications@gmail.com

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