The integration of indigenous knowledge systems in provincial climate change adaptation and mitigation policy strategies in South Africa. Experiences from Kwazulu-Natal province
Hassan Omari KAYA
University of KwaZulu-Natal DST-NRF Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems, South Africa
South Africa is a country characterized by severe and frequent droughts. Past government efforts in dealing with the problem of global warming concentrated on mitigation strategies, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere. However, given the slow progress in achieving this, adaptation policy strategies were viewed as a viable option to reducing the vulnerability of local communities to the foreseen negative effects of climate change. There is now a growing realization in the country that climate change adaptation and mitigation policy strategies should be complementary. This paper argues that the complementary approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation is not a completely new phenomenon in the history of Southern African rural communities. African people in their specific cultural and environmental local communities in the region have for centuries developed and implemented indigenous climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies to reduce climate change vulnerability. These community-based knowledge systems have over the years been marginalized in the search for sustainable solution to climate change concerns. However, recently some provinces in South Africa have started to integrate indigenous knowledge systems-based climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in their provincial growth and development policies. The first of these provinces in South Africa is that of KwaZulu-Natal Province. The provincial leadership has recognized the fact that incorporating IKS can add value to the development of sustainable climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies that are rich in local content, and planned in conjunction with local people. The paper interrogates the prospects and challenges facing the province in this initiative including policy implications for the future.
Prof. Hassan O. Kaya is the Director of the DST-NRF Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems with its hub at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He initiated and coordinated the IKS Centre and IKS Teaching Programme at the North-West University; the NEPAD Agency IKS Regional Node for Southern Africa which encompasses 12 countries in the region; the Patron of the African Young Scientists Initiative on Climate Change and IKS which organized the first International Student Conference on IKS and Climate Change and the COP17 Round Table Discussions in Durban (2011) on the Role of IKS and African Young Scientists/ Youth in Climate Change and the national team leader of the Department of Science and Technology Initiative on the Development of a Statutory Body and Framework for the Accreditation and Certification of IK Holders and Practitioners.
Prof. Kaya has Ph.D in Sociology of Development from the Free University, Berlin, Germany; Bachelors (Honours) and Master’s Degree in Development Studies, from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and a Postdoctorate Certificate in International Agricultural Development from the Technical University, Berlin (Germany). He is an experienced researcher, scholar, consultant, and community worker in Indigenous African Knowledge Systems