Integrating indigenous knowledge in Climate Risk

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Transcript Integrating indigenous knowledge in Climate Risk

Integrating indigenous knowledge in
Climate Risk Management in support
of Community Based Adaptation
Maria Onyango & Gilbert O Ouma
• Climate is closely linked to sustainability of
community livelihoods and lives
• Extreme climate variabilities such as floods
and droughts often have far reaching
environmental, health and socio-economic
impacts in many developing countries
• To counter this trend, there is need to have
in place efficient and realistic climate risk
reduction strategies, including availability
of effective early warning systems to
enhance the planning efforts to:
– Reduce the negative impacts
– Take full advantage of positive impacts
– Help in adaptation to climate change
• Reducing this vulnerability calls for
community-based adaptation through
empowering local communities to take
action on their vulnerability to climate
variability and change
• From a development point of view, wider
access to knowledge and information will
help reduce climate risks and inequalities
within a community by:
– Opening up opportunities for vulnerable
members (women and youth) to benefit from
integrated climate knowledge and strategies
for sustainable use, management and
conservation of biodiversity
Indigenous Knowledge
• Indigenous knowledge (IK) may be defined as an
ancient, communal, holistic and spiritual knowledge
that encompasses every aspect of human existence
(Brascoupé and Mann, 2001)
• Local communities through accumulated IK gained
from generation to generation, knew:
Patterns of weather
How and when local natural disasters occur
When they were likely to recur
How to plan to cope with their impacts on the natural
environment, livelihoods, and lives
• In Africa, many communities have used IK as a critical
knowledge base and survival tool for adapting to
extreme climate events and other natural hazards
• They have developed techniques and strategies for
forecasting, and managing climate variability including
coping mechanisms to respond to both normal and
harsh conditions of their local environments
• This forecasting depends on observation of the natural
environment including:
– Flora
– Fauna
– Stars
Western Climate Science
• Western climate science, on the other
hand, uses the knowledge of the physics of
the atmosphere to predict the most
probable future weather/climate scenario
• The two knowledge bases (IK and Western
climate Science) are very different but both
try to solve the same problems
How approached
Compartmental Holistic
How communicated Written
How taught
Spiritual, social
How explained
Theory, “value
• The western science and technology have advanced at
fast pace and the western climate science community
also continues to improve on climate tools for climate:
– Observation
– Monitoring
– Prediction
• To date the climate community can, for example be
able to provide El-Niño and related forecasts
sometimes with lead times of over three months
• However, there have been complaints from the users
– language - interpretation of the products
– hampering usefulness of the products
• Most of the societies are still faithful to IK for
climate risks management even when most of
them agree that the patterns of the local climate
seem to be changing
• There is therefore urgent need to integrate
indigenous climate risk reduction strategies with
western climate information, in order to provide
the local communities with new tools for coping
with the current climate extremes. be able to
adapt to future climate changes, and for greater
The Project
• There is still a gap in reducing vulnerability
in communities despite availability of good
western science and IK forecasts
• There is a realization that merging the
two sources of information may lead to
better climate risk management and
hence promote poverty reduction and
sustainable development
• Led to the formulation of the project:
“Integrating indigenous knowledge in
Climate Risk Management in support of
Community Based Adaptation”
• Due to the multidisciplinary nature of
climate change, the project team is also
NGANYI community
NMK (Kisumu)
• The general objective of this project is to
enhance the resilience of vulnerable
communities to the negative impacts of
climate variability and adapt to climate
change through integration of indigenous
knowledge (IK) and western climate risk
management science
Specific Objectives
• Demystify Nganyi community IK and
develop sustainable framework for
integrating IK and western climate risk
• Gender Analysis – roles in access, control
and management of natural resources
including climate risk management
• Develop and improve the packaging and
communication of IK integrated seasonal
climate forecasts.
• Investigate the potential impacts of future
climate changes on the IK systems
• Develop curriculum that can be used to
Integrate IK and western science disaster
risk reduction
• Getting the TWO knowledge bases sharing
• Property rights - KIPI
• Data collection
Gender Analysis
• Preliminary results show that the women:
– have heavier workloads
– have higher illiteracy levels
– Have limited control over natural resources
including getting into the observatories
– Less access to information
• Project therefore focused on capacity building
for women and youth through activity-based
group formation and income generation
Integrated forecasts
• Two seasons covered
• Results of 1st season qualitatively validated through
information given by the community at the 2nd
– Results were surprisingly good – the community
concurred that the forecast was accurate
– This was surprising because most of the comments
from the other parts of the country suggested that
the forecast was wrong
– Integration of IK could have better captured local
• The major breakthrough for the moment is
the dissemination aspect
• Incorporating govt officers from different
sectors, we were able to deliver the
message in practical, usable terms – not so
much meteorological terms!
Other Activities
• Climate scenarios are currently being run
for 2030, 2050 & 2080 using Precis
• The development of curriculum is ongoing
– Draft “modern” science curricula have been
sourced, collation ongoing
– Draft IK curriculum has been developed
– Integration will be done and result presented
to a group of experts for validation