Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Tacloban Declaration and climate change

A rich literature on  initiatives vis-à-vis integration of indigenous and traditional knowledge with scientific research today exists, which challenges societies to find ways by which the outcomes could be translated into climate change strategies. The Asian Monitoring Trends (AMT) Bulletin (conducted by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy) further cites that it is in Southeast Asia where 60% of the world’s indigenous peoples live. They are vulnerable in almost every aspect and they also live in the most vulnerable ecosystems. But they hold valuable traditional knowledge which must be considered in the planning of climate change strategies.
Here are examples of indigenous knowledge:  The Kenyah tribe in Borneo understands the effect of the El Nino drought and plant new crops in the drying river beds during droughts. They have diversified their food sources with wild foods, such as starch from wild sago palms.  Some indigenous peoples have seasonal forecasts based on intimate knowledge of plants and animal cycles.  They also use changes in the appearance of the sky or sea and animal behavior in their early warning systems. In some Filipino communities, you will find families storing harvest rice in the attic to keep mice away with rising smoke.
AMT also notes that in the region, most climate change programs are taking place in large urban cities like Manila and Jakarta. But the ones that are affected or are faced with greater risk (such as Tacloban) are located far from the centers of power. Furthermore, these smaller and less urbanized cities and towns suffer from lack of institutional capacity and are, therefore, incapable of immediate and adequate response.
But the Declaration does recognize what experts note as a necessary condition for ensuring success, which is that such strategy must  be “multidimensional.” This means there must be adequate coordination among stakeholders involved, and  balance achieved in the allocation of resources for institutions, infrastructure, and human resources. The Declaration also recognizes that such efforts can only be implemented by governments or large international organizations with the active participation of  every sector of society. 
 by Florangel Rosario Braid
June 17, 2014

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