Indigenous representatives from five African countries (Chad, Niger, Kenya, Namibia and South Africa) attended a two-day conference in N’Djamena Chad to consider with meteorologists how traditional knowledge of pastoralism and atmospheric science can be combined to respond to current climate change risks. The conference reflected on the need for effective participation of indigenous peoples, including herders, in national adaptation platforms and other national processes to ensure peace, sustainable livelihoods and biological conservation in the face of worsening climate instability. The conference was hosted by the Association des Femmes Peules Autochtones du Tchad (AFPAT) and the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC).
Key findings included:
- Traditional knowledge and climate science are both critically important for adaptation policy and for supporting resilience building of rural communities in order to cope with climate change;
- Traditional knowledge and climate science need to be shared to create synergies that can inform adaptation policy, monitoring and assessment. It is through a combination of both knowledge systems that we achieve better synchronisation between forecasting, anticipatory responses, appropriate governance responses and feed-back. Both knowledge systems need to be converted into media that is understandable and usable in national adaptation platforms and for public use;
- Climate change amplifies social and economic vulnerability, with the risk of serious conflict and poverty. An indispensable element of climate adaptation is ensuring good governance, human rights and social equity to maintain local, national and regional harmony during times of stress;
- The United Nations’ Cancún Adaptation Framework, the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) may be best effective through well designed and funded national adaptation platforms;
- National adaptation platforms need to include a diverse range of rural and urban communities, with particular attention to participatory approaches to facilitate the contributions of pastoralists, hunter-gathers, farmers and fisherfolk.
- National adaptation platforms need to facilitate a two-way flow of ideas, information and strategies for resilience building and equitable sharing of costs and benefits. The inputs to and outputs from the platforms need to be meaningful and relevant.
Indigenous peoples’ delegates worked with the National Meteorological Services of Chad, the Chadian National Centre for Support to Research (CNAR), international agencies, including the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) – Small Grants Projects, and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation EU-ACP (CTA). The results of the workshop were shared with the Honourable Minister of Urban and Rural Hydrology, and the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation of the Republic of Chad.
Results of High Level Round Table on Pastoralism, Traditional Knowledge, Meteorology and Implementation of Policies of Climate Adaptation
Following the two-day conference on adaptation, a high level panel of two Chadian Ministers and representatives of national and international expert technical agencies contributed to a round table dialogue on adaptation and pastoralism.
His Excellency, the national Minister of Urban and Rural Hydrology, General Mahamat Ali Abdallah Nassour:
The Honourable Minister noted the opportunities for government to respond to the challenges include:
- Adaptation requires recognition of the facts of climate change and vulnerability, and should draw on both science and traditional knowledge to find appropriate responses;
- Scientific interaction with pastoralists is important for Chad. We are facing policy challenges in a wide range of domains, including the environment, land use, water management, and changes to the overall climate. Increased risks of conflict must be avoided through effective policy making and full participation of the concerned communities, notably pastoralists;
- Africa needs to develop adequate policies and deployment of financial resources to overcome the constraints and ensure a robust and inclusive planning and evaluation process;
- Atmospheric sciences allow forecasting of weather and seasonal pattern. Efforts need to be made in timely sharing these information with those concerned;
- Financing is an important element in building the national adaptation platforms. International solidarity, whether in expertise or financing remains very valuable for Least Developed Countries.
His Excellency, the national Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, the Honourable Dr Djime Adoum
- Traditional knowledge must be included in science because it is itself a form of science;
- Local breeds and traditional varieties of crops are emerging as more resistant and less demanding in terms of husbandry;
- Most food production systems, farming, pastoralism and fishing in the country are still run at subsistence levels – this reality needs to shape policy making;
- The introduction of improved, new or hybrid varieties require additional inputs, such as more water or fertilisers, which has cost implications for communities;
- Innovative information communication technologies (ICTs) will be used to capture and document local knowledge in the framework of the project;
- National budgetary procedures need to take into consideration the inter-sectoral impact of climate change, and ensure early planning for adaptation. It is not wise to wait until a crisis unfolds before looking for resources to address it;
The conference was closed by His Excellency, General Mahamat Ali Abdallah Nassour, Minister of Urban and Rural Hydrology. The Minister noted the valuable work which had been done by the delegates and looked forward to the presentation of the results at the 17th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, due to take place in Durban, South Africa from 28 November until 10 December, 2011.
The full report of the N’Djamena conference can be downloaded from www.ipacc.org.za