On 25 August 2016, UNU-IAS organised a side event at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi, on the topic Enhancing Resilience against Climate and Ecosystem Changes in Sub-Saharan Africa through Utilizing Indigenous and Local Knowledge. The event discussed research findings on biodiversity and ecosystem and climate change, as well as best practice that combines both indigenous and local knowledge and modern science and technology for enhancing the resilience of Africa’s diverse and vulnerable landscapes.
The event featured speakers and participants from UNU, the University of Tokyo, the University of Ghana, the University for Development Studies (Ghana), the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme, and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). It was co-organized by UNU-IAS, the University of Tokyo, the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University.
In opening the event, Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi (Director, Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science [IR3S], University of Tokyo) cited examples from the ongoing UNU-IAS project Enhancing Resilience to Climate and Ecosystem Changes in Semi-Arid Africa (CECAR-Africa). He highlighted the project’s newly developed “Ghana Model” resilience enhancement framework as a prime example of needs-oriented research aiming to drive appropriate action by governments and development practitioners. He stressed its potential to be upscaled and encouraged researchers to replicate it in similar ecological regions within Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr. Noeline Raondry Rakotoarisoa (UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme) noted that the outcomes of efforts towards promoting resilience in socio-ecological systems against climate, ecosystem, and socioeconomic changes needed to be sustained and called for actively engaging local stakeholders in the design, planning, implementation, and monitoring of intervention projects. Presentations by other speakers addressed case study research and intervention projects in Ghana, Kenya, Swaziland, and Tanzania, that aim to identify and promote sustainable remedial measures to improve livelihoods, address food insecurity, and safeguard vulnerable ecosystems.
In summary remarks, Dr. Osamu Saito (Academic Programme Officer, UNU-IAS) emphasized that promoting local adaptive capacity, livelihood diversification, and good governance systems were critical for reducing the vulnerability of populations in Africa and promoting sustainable development in harmony with nature.
A new publication was presented at the event, Socio-ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes (SEPLS) in Africa, produced by UNU-IAS and IR3S. It presents readers with case studies from six African countries highlighting issues relating to the status of, trends in, and threats facing SEPLS and approaches to their revitalization, conservation and sustainable management across Africa.