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UNESCO, UNU Launch Book on Traditional Knowledge for Climate Change Adaptation

13 June 2012: Published by the UN University (UNU) Traditional Knowledge Initiative and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the book "Weathering Uncertainty: traditional knowledge for climate change assessment and adaptation" was launched at the International Council for Science's Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development, held in parallel to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

Authored by D.J. Nakashima, K. Galloway McLean, H.D. Thulstrup, A. Ramos Castillo, and J.T. Rubis, the book draws attention to a rapidly-growing scientific literature on the contribution of indigenous and traditional knowledge to understanding climate change vulnerability, resilience and adaptation. It aims at strengthening consideration of indigenous knowledge in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to be released in 2014. In its Fourth Assessment Report, IPCC recognized traditional knowledge as "an invaluable basis for developing adaptation and natural resource management strategies in response to environmental and other forms of change." Despite this recognition, indigenous knowledge has remained largely outside the scope of IPCC assessments.

Speaking at the launch, Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences, emphasized that the book "underlines the critical role that indigenous peoples and local communities can play in ongoing international efforts to monitor the progress of global climate change impacts and to develop capacities to respond.” Professor Govindan Parayil, UNU Vice-Rector, added that the drafting of the book had encouraged an "intimate interaction" among IPPC authors, climate scientists, indigenous experts, and community representatives, stressing that such a collaboration "is providing important support for effective adaptation action on the ground.” [UNU Press Release] [Publication: Weathering Uncertainty: Traditional Knowledge for Climate Change Assessment and Adaptation]