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Climate Conversations - Mapping a Route Through Climate Change in Chad

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As with many challenges, the affected parties often work in isolation and are unaware of other potential solutions. This is also true of the impacts of climate change in Chad.


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JL A (281)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 10:28 am
[note video link at end of the article at the site]
Climate Conversations - Mapping a route through climate change in Chad

By Giacomo Rambaldi | Monday at 1:04 PM | Comments ( 0 )

Herders from the M'bororo peoples work on a mapping exercise. Photo: CTA

Herders from the M'bororo peoples work on a mapping exercise. Photo: CTA

By Giacomo Rambaldi

I first met Bouba Mal Yaya, a herdsman from the Fulani-Mbororo peoples in Chad, in early 2011. At that time, he and his fellow herders were in a state of great distress.

They saw their traditional way of life and livelihoods slipping away from them. The very core of their time-honoured way of farming had been shaken. The authority of the trusted elders who had always been relied upon to provide accurate strategies to cope with meagre resources and manage seasonal weather patterns had been seriously undermined with the increasingly unpredictable climate and weather conditions of recent years.

As with many challenges, the affected parties often work in isolation and are unaware of other potential solutions. This is also true of the impacts of climate change in Chad.

On the one hand, the Mbororo people have a deep understanding passed down through generations of their land and its climate conditions. They know how to read the signs offered by nature.

Scientists, on the other hand, hold the key to interpreting the impacts of the latest research. If these two groups could come together and pool their combined expertise, perhaps the M’bororo people could maintain their traditional way of life and the scientists would gain from a more profound understanding of the areas.

This was, in fact, the first stage in a process to address the climate change challenge and its far-reaching effects in Chad. A meeting was held in November 2011 in N’Djamena, Chad, brought together meteorologists and community representatives from Chad, Niger, Kenya, Namibia and South Africa.

This gathering, hosted by the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC), the Association des Femmes Peules Autochtones du Tchad (AFPAT) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), encouraged Bouba Mal Yaya and his fellow participants to see how traditional knowledge and atmospheric science could be combined to respond to the climate change risks.

Bouba and the other pastoralists were profoundly affected by this experience. “Not only do we have a better understanding of why things are changing for us, but the knowledge of our elders and our ancestors has been given true recognition. It will help us and others to improve our way of life in the future,” he said.

The workshop in N’Djamena resulted in the ‘N’Djamena Declaration on traditional knowledge and climate adaptation’, which was presented at the 17th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban in 2011.

It was, however, a participatory mapping exercise in August 2012 that has had the most lasting effect on Bouba and the M’bororo people. Participatory mapping or Participatory 3D Modelling, is a process that assembles members of the community to pool their indigenous knowledge to highlight land use, traditional routes of cattle migration, ecosystem features and biodiversity information on a physical 3D relief map.

Over 12 days the participants worked together to construct a 3D model of the Baїbokoum area of Chad. Bouba and his colleagues made a significant contribution identifying six tree species protected under M’bororo customary law.

These trees have both medicinal and ecosystem functions and have acted as navigation reference points over the years. Herders were also able to highlight different types of surface water on the map – seasonal, permanent, swamp and flowing.

Government ministers formally closed the workshop, emphasising the significance of the event and what had been achieved. For Bouba Mal Yaya and his fellow herders the experience was life changing.

“To have our voices heard and our experiences witnessed by those in positions of power who can really make a change is indescribable,” he said. The process has also recognised, respected and protected their traditional knowledge and way of life and is giving the pastoralists a renewed sense of pride and belief in their cultural heritage and a new hope for the future.

Moreover, the government has invited the M’bororo people to advise them on issues such as the protection of threatened forest spaces in mountains outside Baїbokoum, ensuring their voices continue to be heard in the corridors of power.

Giacomo Rambaldi is the senior programme coordinator for information and communication technology at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). CTA’s mission is to advance food and nutritional security, increase prosperity and encourage sound natural resource management in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The organisation will be hosting Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day on Dec. 3, held in parallel with the climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar. See a video of the project here.

Kit B (276)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 10:45 am

This does look hopeful and not the only country being so affected. Combining ancient knowledge of the land and natural farming with scientific research may be the hope for people surviving the devastating effects of climate change.

JL A (281)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 2:41 pm
I agree this is grounds for hope and that it could also work elsewhere Kit. You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.

Paul Merrifield (0)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 5:39 am
Care2 STOP fear mongering my kids please? Climate change was wrong, be happy at least.
Deny this:
Science gave us pesticides and germ warfare.
How close to the brink will the world of science take us before they declare a worldwide emergency by actually saying it actually “WILL” happen? They refuse to state; “Yes it WILL happen to our children.” They are obviously exaggerating and any real planet lover would welcome the good news of a “non-crisis”. If you love the planet then demand they be crystal clear about this comet hit of an emergency because you can’t have a little climate crisis; that’s called superstitious exaggeration.
How could it possibly be an actual crisis to even worry about when there are millions of people in the global scientific community with threatened children as well, yet only dozens of climate change protesters world-wide? After 26 years of research one would have to want to believe in the tragic exaggeration of climate change crisis.
Maybe this explains why they have only said a crisis could be real........."maybe" and have never said it "will" be a crisis. Prove me wrong. Not one single IPCC warning is without "could be" and "likely" so how could we be at the point of no return from unstoppable warming? It’s impossible. All evidence points to exaggeration and since when was studying effects not causes of an assumed to be real crisis considered a crime. History is already calling it Reefer Madness.
How many climate blame scientists does it take to change a light bulb?
None but they have consensus that it "will" change, maybe.
Help my house could be on fire maybe?

JL A (281)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 8:34 am
Statistics are not designed to EVER give 100% certainty so ethics demand language that recognizes there is a one percent or a five percent chance of being wrong. Meme, you are free to choose to place yourself in the minority hanging your hopes on something that has a 1% or a 5% chance of being true. Most people, albeit not politicians beholden to the corporations responsible for pushing unfettered CO2 emissions, prefer to go with the probability that is 95% or 99% apt to occur--especially when the confirming evidence grows exponentially every day.
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