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November 02, 2021

Understanding the economic impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous Peoples

To support an inclusive recovery and encourage participation

One of the policy priorities of New Zealand as hosts of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2021 was to increase inclusion and sustainability in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. BERL was commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) to undertake research to understand the economic impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous Peoples within the APEC region and beyond.

We conducted an extensive literature review and compiled questionnaire responses from nine APEC member economies. Three key themes emerged from the literature review and questionnaire responses. First, the crucial role of kinship, community engagement, and connections to the land, which were leveraged to build resilience to the pandemic. Second, the report highlights the lack of and need for inclusive and good quality data, tailored to Indigenous needs. Third, the report describes how the pandemic affected Indigenous businesses, and the household incomes and employment outcomes of Indigenous Peoples.

The report shows that in order to achieve the goal of increasing inclusion and improving the social and economic outcomes of Indigenous Peoples, it is crucial that their unique vulnerabilities and strengths are identified. In order to do this, data practitioners and policy makers must share their successes and failures. Finally, the need for better quality data, disaggregated by ethnicity, cannot be overstated.

The report can be accessed from the APEC website here.