Weathering Uncertainty: Traditional Knowledge for Climate Change Assessment and Adaptation

When considering climate change, indigenous peoples and marginalized populations warrant particular attention. Impacts on their territories and communities are anticipated to be both early and severe due to their location in vulnerable environments. There is therefore a need to understand the specific vulnerabilities, adaptation capacities and longer-term aspirations of indigenous peoples and marginalized communities the world over. Indigenous and traditional knowledge contribute to this broader understanding. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fourth Assessment Report 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.

This 120-page volume, co-published by UNESCO and UNU, is the product of an inter-agency partnership that also includes the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme. It references 280 publications from the scientific literature (peer-reviewed and grey) and covers themes at the core of the Fifth AR such as foundations for decision-making on indigenous knowledge, traditional livelihoods, vulnerability, resilience, and adaptation policy and planning.

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