NAIROBI, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Strategic application of indigenous knowledge is key to strengthening the capacity of Africa's rural communities to respond to negative impacts of climate change, experts said on Wednesday.
The experts said at a forum organized by the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that harnessing vast wealth of traditional knowledge possessed by local communities will promote climate resilience in Africa.
Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of UNESCO East African Regional Office, said it's crucial for African countries to incorporate indigenous knowledge in their climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
"Africa's steady development agenda has been put at risk with the advent of climate change. We should therefore understand how our diverse systems of traditional knowledge can be harnessed to boost climate response," Ndong-Jatta said.
The UNESCO experts meeting on indigenous knowledge and climate change response in Africa was attended by policymakers, scientists, pastoralists and meteorologists.
Delegates agreed that African communities have a vast repository of indigenous knowledge on weather forecast that can be utilized to inform action on looming climatic shocks.
Ndong-Jatta said multilateral institutions have rallied behind indigenous knowledge driven interventions to help African farmers and pastoralists cope with extreme weather events.
"We are committed to support African states to mobilize local and indigenous knowledge in order to build resilience and adaptive capacity of vulnerable groups," said Ndong-Jatta.
She noted that a robust partnership with indigenous communities, pastoralists and scientists will guide formulation of policies aimed at promoting climate resilience in Africa.
Nigel Crawhall, the Chief of Small Islands and Indigenous Knowledge Section at UNESCO noted the role of traditional knowledge and practices has gained traction in the global climate agenda.
"The need to merge science of metrology and indigenous knowledge is informed by their complementary role in preparing communities to respond better to climate change related disasters," Crawhall said.
African countries should leverage on practical experience and untapped knowledge possessed by indigenous communities while designing climate change response strategies.
Malih Johnson Ole Kaunga, the founder of a Kenyan pastoralists' advocacy network said that success of climate change adaptation in Africa hinges on active participation of nomads and farmers who possess vast knowledge on weather patterns and habitats.