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UNFCCC Reports on Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge for Adaptation

UNFCCC8 May 2014: The UNFCCC Secretariat has published a meeting report on available tools for the use of indigenous and traditional knowledge and practices for adaptation, needs of local and indigenous communities, and the application of gender-sensitive approaches and tools for adaptation (FCCC/SBSTA/2014/INF.11), which includes a summary of recommendations identified by participants for further consideration.

The meeting, which was jointly organized by the Adaptation Committee and the Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change (NWP), convened in Bonn, Germany, from 1-4 April 2014. Participants discussed relevant opportunities and challenges, and shared best practices and lessons learned related to both indigenous and traditional knowledge and practices for adaptation, and gender-sensitive adaptation actions.

On indigenous and traditional knowledge and practices, participants noted that using such knowledge and practices leads to community empowerment. However, challenges and needs remain, including those related to: the ability and willingness of national and local governments to engage with local and indigenous communities; limited financial and technical resources; and changes in local and indigenous communities with the adoption of modern lifestyles. Participants also shared lessons learned, including those related to the importance of an integrated perspective regarding sustaining livelihoods and culture, and respect and trust.

The meeting identified good practices related to, inter alia: complementing modern scientific knowledge, practices and tools with indigenous and traditional knowledge and practices; and setting up legislation and developing guidelines and protocols for appropriate conflict resolution. Tools identified to assist in applying such knowledge and practices included: participatory rural appraisal tools; multi-stakeholder dialogues; and knowledge exchange platforms to facilitate exchanges among communities, scientists and policymakers.

Going forward, participants recommended: collecting, sharing and scaling up of good practices and tools; enhancing the mobilization of traditional knowledge and practices; enabling the recognition, participation and engagement of local communities and knowledge holders; and facilitating the appropriate integration of such knowledge and practices into national adaptation planning processes.

On applying gender-sensitive approaches and tools for adaptation, participants highlighted challenges related to, inter alia: lack of political will for gender-sensitive adaptation policies and plans; limited resources, including finance, technical and institutional capacities; misconception that gender is only a women's issue; and lack of understanding regarding the benefits of gender-sensitive adaptation actions. Regarding good practices and lessons learned, participants identified, inter alia: carrying out gender-sensitive assessments of climate change vulnerability; planning and designing gender-sensitive adaptation initiatives; and creating an enabling environment and leadership for gender-sensitive adaptation.

Participants made recommendations related to: integrating gender-sensitive approaches and tools into national adaptation planning processes and policies; leveraging expertise outside of climate change adaptation; building capacity to apply gender-sensitive approaches and tools for adaptation; ensuring the use of gender-sensitive approaches in climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation; and accessing resources over the long term. [Meeting Report]