Prospects for Strengthening Adaptation Governance Through Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Nelson Chanza, Walter Musakwa, Anton de Wit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Indigenous populations in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are innocent victims of climate change and their knowledge remains largely peripheral in shaping governance processes. This raises concerns particularly where exogenous driven climatic responses fail to observe the ethical and justice issues of indigenous people experiencing climatic risks. Drawing on existing climate adaptation governance scholarship, we argue that the global climate governance architecture falls short of articulating the issues of indigenous people affected by climate change in SSA. The broad and complex global climate governance concept is fragmented into adaptation governance, a treatment asserted to be more appropriate towards addressing the ethical and justice issues of SSA communities. The chapter identifies three IK-based adaptation instruments; ecosystem-based adaptation; community-based adaptation; and indigenous-based adaptation; and deploy them in isolation to showcase the prospects of these tools in translating the governance question into practice. The chapter concludes that prospects for IK integration in adaptation regimes go beyond emancipatory and empowering agendas to guarantee the effectiveness of adaptation projects in indigenous communities. If handled well, the process of re-shaping adaptation governance framework can create opportunities for more meaningful responses tothe thirteenth sustainable development goal (SDG 13) through local people’s engagement in addressing climatic impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Development Goals Series
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameSustainable Development Goals Series
VolumePart F2728
ISSN (Print)2523-3084
ISSN (Electronic)2523-3092


  • Climate change
  • Community-based adaptation
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation
  • Ethics and justice
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Multidisciplinary


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