Traditional Knowledge for Adapting to Climate Change: Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Pacific
UNESCO Office for the Pacific States, International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICHCAP), 2013

This information brochure has been produced to highlight examples of how intangible cultural heritage contributes to climate change adaptation efforts in the Pacific. Examples relate to traditional navigation systems, environmental resource management, vernacular architecture, and social cohesion, networks and cooperation. It is argued that adaptation to change is part of the lifestyles of the Pacific community. Traditional knowledge, values and practices (or intangible cultural heritage) underpin the ability of the Pacific community to successfully live and thrive in the Pacific environment. In synergy with other scientific knowledge, intangible cultural heritage may enhance the communities’ resilience against natural disasters and climate change. Consideration for culture should be integrated into reducing disaster risk and adapting climate change policies, plans and actions. Download the publication [pdf] …

Adaptation Toolkit: Guidebook for Researchers and Adaptation Practitioners Working with Local Communities
Gifty Ampomah, Tahia Devisscher, Energie Environnement Développement, Stockholm Environment Institute, March 2013

This toolkit aims to help conduct a climate change vulnerability assessment and develop adaptation strategies based on current capacities. Specifically, researchers are able to: identify current capacities, skills and assets in a project site, understand climate-related events in the past and coping strategies used, as well as current climatic/environmental hazards that shape vulnerability; and on this basis facilitate a multi-stakeholder process for developing locally suitable adaptation strategies. Download the guidebook [pdf] …

Mapping and Documenting Indigenous Knowledge in Climate Change Adaptation in Ghana
Benjamin A. Gyampoh, Winston A. Asante, Africa Adaptation Programme, UN Development Programme, 2011

This study assesses the extent of community observation of changes in climate and associated impacts as well as community-based approaches used in coping with the changes. For each climatic observation, the people provide evidence to support their claim as well as early, short term and long term responses to these changes. Information on local indicators for predicting climate was also collected in all the communities that were surveyed. Also important were the extent to which the community-based indicators supported rural livelihoods and coping with changes in weather patterns as well as the potential threats to these knowledge systems. Communities’ awareness of and usage of climate information was also assessed. Indigenous knowledge used in adapting to changing climate have been identified and documented as part of the findings of this study. The knowledge systems offer readily available and significant opportunities for integration into climate change adaptation programmes, including disaster risk reduction programmes. The study reveals that communities rightly observe changes in their climate and have substantial understanding on what goes on around them and how they should make adjustments to ensure their livelihoods go on. The communities are able to provide concrete evidence of the observed changes to buttress their observation. However, some of the useful indicators that have and continue to help the people know changes in their environment and adapt their livelihoods accordingly are threatened with extinction due to the enormous changes in the environment. Habitats of plants, animals, birds and insects which have played significant roles as climatic indicators are being lost or modified, resulting in most of these indicators either migrating or dying. Despite a wider awareness of the weather forecasts given by the Ghana Meteorological agency, most farmers did not plan their activities based on the weather forecast; the major reason being that they found it to be less reliable and also too general instead of being tailored to their specific communities. This makes the application of indigenous knowledge in weather prediction using traditional indicators very relevant to the rural farmer. To fully benefit from the usefulness of the indigenous knowledge, there is the need for long term studies to validate the indigenous knowledge and incorporate them into scientific knowledge systems for effective adaptation strategies. Download the publication [pdf] …