Local and Indigenous Knowledge in Adaptation to Climate Change

This paper examines the use of local and indigenous knowledge in the UN frameworks and guidelines. After a short summary of the notion of local and indigenous knowledge, the paper will examine the utilization of the concept in international frameworks and guidelines. It will look at how local and indigenous knowledge is understood, which types of measures it is associated with, and what are the internationally recognised guidelines to include local knowledge in adaptation measures. In the final part, the paper will discuss the discrepancy between the official UN guidelines and the realities of using local and indigenous knowledge in adaptation projects. Using an example from Nepal, the paper demonstrates the shortcomings of the approach adopted by UN agencies, arguing that the inclusion of local knowledge, and more generally the inclusion of local and indigenous communities in the decision-making processes, is very limited. It suggests that in order for adaptation measures to be successful, effective and sustainable, adaptation projects must strive for inclusion of local populations through either direct contact or representation by local NGOs.

By: Ivana Pavkova

Published on March 22, 2021


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