Wednesday, 10 June 2009

AfricaAdapt at the Bonn Climate Change conference

The thirtieth sessions of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies - SBSTA and SBI, sixth session of the AWG-LCA and the eighth session of the AWG-KP are taking place from Monday 1 June till Friday 12 June 2009 in Maritim, Bonn.

Events on Monday, 8 June 2009. This event showcased innovative approaches to mixing traditional knowledge and modern tools for local-level climate change adaptation.

L-R: Xianfu Lu, UNFCCC Secretariat; Blane Harvey, Institute of Development Studies;
Moussa Na Abou Mamouda, ENDA-TM; Binetou Diagne, ENDA-T;
and Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee

Xianfu Lu, UNFCCC Secretariat, said adaptation is multi-scalar and multi-temporal, has multiple drivers and stakeholders, and requires decision making under uncertainty. She described the role of knowledge brokers in synthesizing knowledge from indigenous peoples, academics and scientific centers into useful knowledge tools. She highlighted initiatives under the Nairobi Work Programme to enhance decision-making capacity on adaptation.

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee, underscored the utility of community mapping tools for mobile indigenous communities in Africa. She described how communities use three-dimensional mapping, CyberTracker, related GPS data-based technology and Google Earth to: map untitled lands; show how local communities are coping with climate instability; and plan for future climate change impacts.

Moussa Na Abou Mamouda, Environment and Development in the Third World (ENDA-TM), stressed that valuable traditional knowledge exists but is poorly shared. He said researchers play a key role in relaying information between vulnerable communities and decision makers. He highlighted constraints that African researchers face, including access to affordable data.

Binetou Diagne, ENDA-TM, highlighted challenges faced by knowledge-sharing intermediaries, including: overcoming linguistic and regional barriers; accessing local knowledge; and delivering pertinent information. She introduced the AfricaAdapt Knowledge Sharing Innovation Fund, which offers grants of up to US$10,000 for innovative tools, such as songs, theatre, and video, to share knowledge on adaptation amongst marginal and hard-to-reach communities.

Participants discussed, inter alia: the potential for radio and Web 2.0 technologies for sharing information about adaptation; the potential for knowledge-sharing networks to threaten the roles of traditional knowledge holders in local communities; the need for knowledge networks to safeguard the intellectual property rights of indigenous peoples; and means to address urgent adaptation needs given slow implementation of NAPAs.