COP18: Traditional communities can teach us about climate adaptation

COP18: Traditional communities can teach us about climate adaptation

COP18 (26/11/12) – Gonzalo Oviedo, Senior Adviser on Social Policy at IUCN talks about the links between climate change and traditional communities. He says traditional people all over the world have already been adapting to environmental changes.

He says the reason why we still have traditional cultures in the world today is because they have already survived climate change and other impacts on their environment and they have adapted to them.

He says that traditional communities have a lot of knowledge and a lot of cultural practices related to the environment and that these are often ignored as delegates meeting at talks like those happening in Doha, focus on the new things which have to be implemented to help combat climate change.

He uses the example of pastoral communities in Northern Africa, the Sahel and Middle Eastern Countries like Jordon, where they manage the drylands. He says the practice of nomadic lifestyles and the ability of the communities to move across large landscapes, allows them to react to climatic variations and seasonal weather patterns. He says they also move from place to place so they do not over use the land, and have developed some sophisticated methods to manage the land.

He talks about the challenges facing traditional communities from increasing populations, expanding urbanisation and also climate change impacts that are expected to be bigger than those experienced before.