Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Results of High Level Round Table on Pastoralism, Traditional Knowledge, Meteorology and Implementation of Policies of Climate Adaptation

N’DJAMENA, 9 November 2011 - Following the two-day conference on adaptation, a high level panel of two Chadian Ministers and representatives of national and international expert technical agencies contributed to a round table dialogue on adaptation and pastoralism.

The high level panel listened to a report back from African pastoralists on their recommendations and observations, and then took the floor to share their perspectives on key questions related to indigenous pastoralists, traditional knowledge, meteorology and platforms of adaptation policy and implementation. The session was chaired by Mme Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, member of the IPACC Executive Committee and Director of AFPAT. Mme Oumarou Ibrahim welcomed contributions from the respective Ministers and members of the high level round table in response to the indigenous peoples’ restitution of the two day workshop.

His Excellency, the national Minister of Urban and Rural Hydrology, General Mahamat Ali Abdallah Nassour:

The Honourable Minister noted the current challenges
  • Pastoralist populations are increasing, with a steady southward migration of communities in Chad. And yet grazing lands are progressively shrinking, degrading or being used for other types of land use. How do we find a balance for sustainability in a changing and unstable context? 
  • Pastoralists have a substantial body of traditional knowledge that needs to be taken into consideration in the process of developing adaptation policies. How do we ensure a closer collaboration between pastoralists and scientists?
  • There are increasing conflicts among farmers and pastoralists. How do we ensure a peaceful cohabitation?

The opportunities for government to respond to the challenges include:
  • Adaptation requires recognition of the facts of climate change and vulnerability, and should draw on both science and traditional knowledge to find appropriate responses;
  • Scientific interaction with pastoralists is important for Chad. We are facing policy challenges in a wide range of domains, including the environment, land use, water management, and changes to the overall climate. This nexus creates increased risks of conflict, which we must avoid through effective policy making and full participation of the concerned communities, notably pastoralists;
  • Africa needs to develop adequate policies and deployment of financial resources to overcome the constraints (i.e. conflicts over scarce resources) and ensure a robust and inclusive planning and evaluation process;
  • Atmospheric sciences allow forecasting of weather and seasonal pattern. Efforts need to be made in timely sharing these information with those concerned;
  • Financing is an important element in building the national adaptation platforms. International solidarity, whether in expertise or financing remains very valuable for Least Developed Countries. Part of the challenge for Chad is to accurately cost the adaptation process, identify what national resources are currently available, and what type of gap needs to be addressed.

His Excellency, the national Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, the Honourable Dr Djime Adoum
  • Traditional knowledge must be included in science because it is itself a form of science;
  • Strongly acknowledges the value of traditional knowledge (e.g. local breeds and traditional varieties of crops are emerging as more resistant and less demanding in terms of husbandry);
  • Most food production systems, farming, pastoralism and fishing in the country are still run at subsistence levels – this reality needs to shape policy making;
  • The introduction of improved, new or hybrid varieties require additional inputs, such as more water or fertilisers, which has cost implications for communities;
  • Traditional varieties and breeds may yield less, but usually they will reliably yield some useful output even under high stress conditions. Under similar high stress conditions modern varieties / breeds may fail leaving no material benefits. The balance of new varieties and traditional varieties needs careful consideration to ensure food security;
  • By having an inclusive approach to national adaptation policy making we create a blue print for adaptive and successful implementation – we can address real challenges that the communities and scientists have jointly identified;
  • Innovative ICTs will be used to capture and document local knowledge in the framework of the project;
  • There is a difference between a drought and a famine. Famine is not always the result of droughts; it is the product of insufficient planning and preparation. 
  • National budgetary procedures need to take into consideration the inter-sectoral impact of climate change, and ensure early planning for adaptation. It is not wise to wait until a crisis unfolds before looking for resources to address it;
  • A new framework for establishing a comprehensive Management Information System (MIS) will be discussed at the Ministry before the end of the year and deployed within 2012. The system will cover different knowledge systems including traditional knowledge.
Further contributions were provided by:
  • Dr Jose Camacho, Scientific Officer, Agricultural Meteorology Division, Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch (CLPA), Climate and Water Department (CLW)World Meteorological Organisation;
  • Dr Baba El-Hadj Mallah, Director General, Centre National d’Appui à la Recherche et Conseil (CNAR), Ministere de l’Enseignement Superieur;
  • Dr Peggy Oti-Boateng, Senior Research Fellow of the Technology, Specialist for Basic and Engineering Sciences, UNESCO (Nairobi, Kenya);
  • Mr Giacomo Rambaldi, Senior Programme Coordinator, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA );
  • Mr Frederick Kihara, Global Environment Facility – Small Grants Projects, Kenya

These contributions are provided in the full report of the N’Djamena conference which can be downloaded from

The conference was closed by His Excellency, General Mahamat Ali Abdallah Nassour, Minister of Urban and Rural Hydrology. The Minister noted the valuable work which had been done by the delegates and looked forward to the presentation of the results at the 17th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, due to take place in Durban, South Africa from 28 November until 10 December, 2011.

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