Regional News of Saturday, 9 August 2014

Source: GNA

Don't undermine indigenous knowledge – researchers advised

The academia and development workers have been called upon to incorporate indigenous knowledge into their research activities to better address the challenges of vulnerable communities.

Professor Wisdom Akpalu, Associate Professor of Economics at the United Nations University – WIDER, University of Ghana Office, who made the call, said indigenous knowledge was important in ensuring the success of any scientific intervention for particular communities.

He made the call when presenting a paper at an international conference on Enhancing Resilience to Climate and Ecosystem Changes in Semi-arid Africa, organized by the Climate and Ecosystem Change Adaptation and Resilience Research (CECAR) in Tamale, on Wednesday.

The two-day conference was to allow the academia, researchers, policy makers and local stakeholders from project communities in northern Ghana and other development partners from across Africa, Asia, and Europe to present research papers on climate and ecosystem changes, and adaptation strategies from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The Enhancing Resilience to Climate and Ecosystem Changes in Semi-arid Africa is a Japanese Government-sponsorship project, which investigates climate and ecosystem changes on major crops through field survey and modelling, assesses impacts of the changes on agriculture and rural development and local capacity to cope with flooding and droughts.

Professor Akpalu urged research scientists not to undermine indigenous knowledge but instead consult and involve local people in their research activities to help find adaptative measures to peculiar challenges facing them.

He said there was a need for targeted response strategies to deal with challenges faced by each vulnerable community as a result of climate change rather than applying same solutions to different communities that had different challenges.

He said there was need to fund research institutions to undertake policy relevant researches that addressed present challenges instead of coming out with researches that were irrelevant to solving current challenges.

He also called for increased investment in rural and community level education by helping find adaptative measures to climate change and its effects.

Professor Edwin Gyasi of the Department of Geography and Resource Development, and Leader of CECAR Project commended partners for funding the project saying it would help to find mitigating measures for the beneficiary communities.

The research institutions involved in the project include the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, University of Tokyo, University of Ghana, University for Development Studies and the Ghana Meteorological Agency.