GCRF_NF228 The COVID Observatories: Monitoring the interaction of pandemics, climate risks, & food systems among the most disadvantaged communities

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Geography


Indigenous Peoples (IPs) are believed to be at particularly high risk from COVID, exacerbated by climate risks and socio-economic stresses. There is emerging evidence that national responses to the pandemic are compounding the vulnerability of IPs, exacerbated by little--if any--understanding on the unique pathways through which COVID will affect IPs. This project will address this knowledge and policy gap by documenting, monitoring, and examining how COVID is interacting with multiple stresses to affect the food systems of IPs globally, co-generating knowledge and capacity to strengthen resilience. Our focus on food reflects the fact that many of the risks posed by COVID stem from interactions with food systems, which for IPs are composed of a mix of traditional and modern elements. The work will be undertaken in collaboration with 24 distinct Indigenous peoples in 14 countries, and is structured around objectives which will: document the emergence of COVID and examine its impacts on food systems to-date; monitor and examine the real-time lived experiences, responses, and observations on COVIDs impact on food systems; compile and assess how COVID is being officially communicated and responded to; identify, examine, and promote interventions to strengthen resilience; and examine scalable insights for vulnerable populations across LMICs. Qualitative data collection is underpinned by a network of 'COVID Observers' within communities, in decision making roles, and researchers already located in the study regions, who will document their experiences and observations in reflective diaries over a 12 month period, capturing different stages of the pandemic and how multiple factors interact over time to create vulnerability and resilience. The global scope of the work builds upon ongoing and completed projects by team members in the study regions, leveraging considerable capacity and networks developed in work funded by DFID, UKRI, Wellcome Trust, FAO, and IDRC, among others.


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