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Panel 21: Responses to environment in distress: Community-based social protection and climate change in the Pacific


Steven Ratuva , Joeli Veitayaki, Dalila Gharbaoui

Session presentation

International declarations such as the Paris Agreement recognize the significance of indigenous knowledge and culture in responding to environmental destruction but the challenge is how to bridge the gap between international discourse and the reality on the ground. Part of the reality is that many formal means to address environmental damage such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), now threatened by Trump’s election, are inaccessible to many small island states in the Pacific because of the complex and cumbersome preconditions. Much of the climate change associated programs by donors are either for short term responses or driven by donor political and economic interests. This panel provides an opportunity to rethink about environmentally sustainable alternatives such as the use of indigenous knowledge which can be used to respond to increasing climate change impacts. This involves the use of traditional forms of social protection, environmental conservation, innovation, farming, labour organization, technology and skills which are culturally embedded, locally owned, cheaper and sustainable. The panel also explores conversational spaces between indigenous knowledge and science-policy approaches in creating a diverse, inclusive and empowering intellectual and political environment and framework for addressing climate change. Of significance here is how indigenous knowledge can be integrated into formal environmental and climate change policies at the national, regional and international levels.

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