COP23: Listening to Local Voices

The Development and Climate Days was a side event that was held at the Kameha Grand Hotel in Bonn, Germany. Ms. Ilaria Firmian of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) had invited the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) delegation to take part in the session on Listening to Local Voices.

The session began with a short discussion between a climate negotiator, Hon. Chachu F. Ganya, who is a Kenyan Member of Parliament and Ms. Agnes Leina, Executive Director of Illaramatak who was representing the concerns of the Kenyan grassroots woman. The two spoke on the challenges they faced when engaging each other in decision making.

The climate negotiator, Hon. Chachu, identified the challenges he normally encounters when facilitating the participation of grassroots representatives while Ms. Agnes Leina highlighted the problems that they as the grassroots women face when engaging in climate policy making. The intention of the introductory segment was to surface the challenges encountered by both parties and find amicable solutions towards addressing them.

Pursuant to the introductory segment, there were two moderated learning circles brought participants together at a round table where they participated as equals in a safe space for constructive and open dialogue. Each learning circle had a chair and a rapporteur who guided the discussion with pre-determined questions from the moderator.

Ms. Amanda Namayi and Ms. Elizabeth Gulugulu represented the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) in one of learning circles where Amanda served as the rapporteur.

One of the first key issues to be addressed during the discussion was how to ensure that the participation of local actors was meaningful in shaping responses to climate change while enabling sustainable development.

Ms. Jennifer Rubis from the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems Program in UNESCO, mentioned that indigenous knowledge holders should always be part of the dialogue especially at policy level and she stressed on the importance of providing a comfortable space for the indigenous people to share their knowledge.

Dr. Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen from the Wageningen University reminded the discussants that local and indigenous knowledge should not be clumped together and that the learning circle should focus more on brainstorming various ways on how local knowledge could be merged with scientific knowledge. The proposed solution to addressing this issue was to package the indigenous knowledge in a way that is consumable to the non-local people. Mr. Victor Raul Bazan from the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal (UNFV) in Peru, mentioned that Ethnography and Anthropology are special areas of study that could look at how to document indigenous knowledge on climate change.

In summary, the group concluded that in order for the local and indigenous voices to be given priority, there needs to be total paradigm shift on the attitude and perception of the people towards local and indigenous knowledge.

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Ms. Amanda Namayi presenting on the importance of listening to local voices


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From Left: Elizabeth Gulugulu, Belen Desmaison, Amanda Namayi and Dr. Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyze listening attentively to the contributions from one of the group members.