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] …

Rio Conventions Pavilion at UNCCD COP11
17-26 September 2013 (Windhoek, Namibia)

Held in parallel with the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and hosted by the Rio Conventions Secretariats and the Global Environment Facility, the Rio Conventions Pavilion meets under the overarching theme of “Shaping our Future: Rio+20 outcome follow-up and moving towards the post 2015 development agenda.” On 17 September 2013, the Indigenous and Local Community Sustainable Land Managers Day was held, organized by UNDP/Equator Initiative and other partners. The day included sessions on: reviving drylands – sustainable use of water in Sub-Saharan Africa; beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – combating desertification, climate change and biodiversity loss post-2015; engaging with extractive industries – can it work; overcoming the challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought – best practices for sustainable land management and the strengthening of alternative livelihoods; and knowledge exchange for capacity building – networks and learning platforms. In the evening a reception was hosted by the World Indigenous Network (WIN), during which the Equator Initiative launched a book titled “Community-Based Sustainable Land Management: Best Practices in Drylands from the Equator Initiative.” Read the IISD Reporting Services’ report on the day … Visit the Rio Conventions Pavilion website …

Ten more countries join Japan-UNDP biodiversity partnership
UNDP press release, 27 June 2013

NEW YORK, USA: Communities in Bhutan, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Mongolia, Namibia and Niger will join the second phase of the Community Development and Knowledge Management for the Satoyama Initiative (COMDEKS), a partnership between the government of Japan and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), bringing the number of involved countries to twenty. The programme promotes inclusive, community-based approaches to the sustainable development of landscapes and seascapes, incorporating support for biodiversity conservation, human security, in particular food security, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Communities in Brazil, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Fiji, India, Malawi, Nepal, Slovakia and Turkey are already involved in designing and implementing landscape strategies for the realization of “societies in harmony with nature”, as defined in the vision of the Satoyama Initiative. The programme is implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environment of Japan, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS). Read the press release … Visit the COMDEKS project website … Read the COMDEKS newsletter …

World Indigenous Network (WIN) Conference
26-31 May 2013 (Darwin, Australia)

Aiming to “connect indigenous peoples and local communities land and sea managers,” the WIN Conference featured a variety of presentations, discussions and events, including on: plurinationality and territorial self-determination in Ecuador; how cultural sites are complementary to protected areas in Nepal; training courses for indigenous rangers in Amazonia; enhancing coastal ecosystems for Maori; models of local indigenous marine management in the Philippines; connecting indigenous, traditional and local knowledge and science under the IPBES; customary sustainable use under CBD Article 10(c); Laponia world heritage; NSW marine parks and aboriginal cultural fishing; developing an ancestral domain planning framework in the Philippines; the evolution of traditional use of marine resources agreements on the Great Barrier Reef; community protocols; participatory video; and new tools to support indigenous land management, such as the NAILSMA I-Tracker Land Patrol Application. The conference brought together 1200 delegates from countries across the Asia-Pacific region as well as from South-East Asia, South America and Africa. Delegates shared their experiences on how traditional customs have helped them protect their local environments and pass on environment protection practices from one generation to the next. As announced by Australia’s Minister Tony Burke at the WIN Conference, the Equator Initiative will be the interim host of the WIN Secretariat from July 2013. Access papers and audio/video presentations at the Conference … Access media reports on the Conference … Read the release by Australian Minister Tony Burke …

A toolkit to support conservation by indigenous peoples and local communities: building capacity and sharing knowledge for Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs)
C. Corrigan and T. Hay-Edie
UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), 2013

Developed by the UNEP-WCMC in partnership with UNDP, and launched at the WIN Conference, this new toolkit presents sixteen case studies highlighting innovative tools and approaches that local communities have developed to address critical challenges affecting their indigenous peoples’ and community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs). The toolkit includes a diverse set of resources organized around five key themes: documentation, management planning, monitoring and evaluation, communication, including TK management, and finance and values. The publication also offers a suite of tools to support the effectiveness and viability of ICCAs as governance structures for the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems. Download the toolkit [pdf] … Read the UNDP press release …

Intercultural Citizenship: Contributions from the political participation of indigenous peoples in Latin America
Ferran Cabrero et al, UNDP, May 2013

Latin America has gone through an unprecedented mobilization of indigenous peoples in the past 20 years, but their political participation, particularly among women, is still low, according to a new study released today by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) during UNPFII 12. The report (available in Spanish) examines the region’s six countries with highest percentage of indigenous peoples and greatest progress in political participation: Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. According to the new study, some key factors have helped boost indigenous peoples political participation in the region, especially: an increased number of indigenous movements, which also benefitted from communications technology, including mobile phones, the Internet and social media; the expansion of their rights after countries signed and recognized crucial international conventions; and an increased number of government agencies advocating for indigenous issues. The study highlights that indigenous women’s political inclusion has been a major challenge, since they face “triple discrimination”: being female, indigenous and poor. Read the UNDP press release … Download the report [pdf, in Spanish] …

Ethiopian families use cultural crafts to improve livelihoods
UNDP release, 28 May 2013

NEW YORK, USA: Genet Tesfaye is a young, married mother of one living in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa. A potter by trade, Genet has been contributing more and more to her family’s income through her craft. Ethiopia has a diverse and rich cultural heritage, and a joint UNDP-UNESCO project is taking advantage of that heritage to help support the country’s fight against poverty. As part of that project, Genet and other women in a cooperative were trained to improve their skills. The training provided to Genet and the women in her cooperative is part of a three-year programme that has been active in six regions of the country, with more than 100,000 beneficiaries. The programme has contributed to helping communities use and build on their culture to preserve their heritage while simultaneously learning new skills to increase their income. Read the release …

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