Climate Change Assessment and Adaptation

Many small island, rural and indigenous peoples’ communities are on the frontlines of climate change. Arctic, high altitude, desert margin and small island communities are observing and experiencing early impacts due to the particular vulnerability of their territories and their reliance upon resource-based livelihoods.

Understanding indigenous knowledge of weather, long-term observations of environmental change and community-based strategies for resilience are essential in the face of a changing and increasingly unpredictable climate. They illustrate how indigenous and/or local knowledge contributes to a broader understanding of the changes occurring, as well as the responses required for effective adaptation.

Promoting the inclusion of diverse knowledge systems within climate change processes, UNESCO provides decision-makers with an understanding of how indigenous knowledge contributes to assessing climate change, its impacts and the range of options for community adaptation.

Highlighted below are on-going activities that contribute to different international climate change processes. More activities and publications can be found on the right-hand column.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: Resilience in a time of uncertainty: Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change

Organized just before COP-21, the international transdisciplinary conference brought together indigenous peoples, governments and scientists to understand the impacts of a changing climate on communities and how climate change policy, programmes and tools can be developed to support local initiatives to respond.

Climate Frontlines: A global forum for indigenous peoples, small islands and vulnerable communities
Since 2009 the Climate Frontlines Forum has provided an online space for discussions on indigenous knowledge and climate change through its global mailing list, web portal and social media. From 2010 - 2012 it also provided support to enable community-level research and discussions on climate change. 

Weathering Uncertainty

The UNESCO-UNU report provides an overview of the published scientific literature (primarily peer-reviewed, but also grey) relating to the contribution of traditional/indigenous knowledge to our understanding of global climate change: observations, impacts and opportunities for adaptation. 


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