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    The role of indigenous knowledge in climate change adaptation in Africa

    Leal Filho, Walter, Barbir, Jelena, Gwenzi, Juliet, Ayal, Desalegn, Simpson, Nicholas P, Adeleke, Lydia, Tilahun, Behiwot, Chirisa, Innocent, Gbedemah, Shine Francis, Nzengya, Daniel M, Sharifi, Ayyoob, Theodory, Theobald and Yaffa, Siddat (2022) The role of indigenous knowledge in climate change adaptation in Africa. Environmental Science and Policy, 136. pp. 250-260. ISSN 1462-9011

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    Africa is particularly affected by climate change due to its exposure to climate hazards, high vulnerability, and low adaptive capacity. Yet, Africa is also a continent rich in Indigenous and Local Knowledge (ILK) that has a long history of informing responses to climatic variability and change. This paper explores the extent to which ILK has been used in climate change adaptation in Africa. It deploys a bibliometric analysis to describe the connections between ILK and climatic change adaptation in Africa, complemented by an analysis of ILK literature and case studies. We consider four key dimensions of ILK, 1) type, 2) contexts of application, 3) value for adaptation, and 4) outcomes and effects in responses to climate change in Africa. Examples drawn from 19 countries across Africa highlight ILK systems are closely connected with biocultural relationships associated with observed patterns of climate change and where adaptation can be more effective when informed by ILK. This body of knowledge is critical to the delivery of climate change adaptation in Africa. The paper suggests some measures through which ILK may be more widely leveraged, both for improved adaptation outcomes, as well as enhancing the biocultural heritage value of ILK systems across Africa. The study commends the remarkable value of ILK in Africa for climate change adaptation and its value for supplementing climate services, particularly in areas with limited access to modern climate and weather forecasts as well as the encouragement of Indigenous communities to develop senses of ownership and active contribution to the sustainability of the future interventions.

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