Transforming Climate Knowledge with and for Society
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the threats of climate change. Many Bangladeshi communities are highly dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods and have weak infrastructure for dealing with extreme weather events, meaning that any variability in the weather can have serious impacts on these communities; ranging from low crop yields to flooding or the spread of infectious diseases. It is important to understand the impacts of current climate variations on Bangladeshi communities, so that they can adapt to future climate change. The TRACKS Project focuses on communities in northeast Bangladesh, where there is high uncertainty about climate variation, particularly associated with the monsoon and its impacts on the community. The project studies how these communities can bring together and communicate the best quality knowledge that they have to support local adaptation; using climate science, but also their own local and traditional knowledge and know-how.
The TRACKS Project will implement an innovative approach that brings together climate scientists, government actors, and local enterprises and people as a group of peers, asked to define what counts as high quality knowledge of their local climate. These ‘climate investigators’ will each bring their own story of the local climate, based on their own knowledge and experience, and together they will negotiate what is most important. The group’s main aim is to assemble a set of key indicators for measuring the impacts of climate variation on communities in northeast Bangladesh, which might range from rain-gauge readings, to when certain wild animal species return to the fields. The climate investigators will then monitor these indicators for a year to test their quality for supporting community adaptation to climate change.
By the end of the TRACKS project the communities of northeast Bangladesh will have high quality knowledge of their local climate, and a well-tested set of indicators for measuring its impact on the communities. The case will also provide important lessons for how we can run similar approaches in other vulnerable developing countries, where there is also an urgent need to adapt to climate change, but significant uncertainty about how.