Transforming Climate Knowledge with and for Society
The TRACKS project implemented an innovative approach that brought together climate scientists, government actors, and local enterprises and people as a group of peers.
Local actors were asked to define what counts as high quality knowledge of their local climate.
The research project started on 1 June 2014. It mobilized high-quality knowledge about current climate variability in northeast Bangladesh and its impacts on communities. TRACKS had eight institutional partners: four in Norway, three in Bangladesh, and one in Hawaii. It was coordinated by the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT), University of Bergen. The project employed an innovative 'post-normal science' approach to bringing together science and local knowledge of climate. It was funded by the Research Council of Norway with more than 10 million NOK.
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 implemented an innovative approach that brought 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’ each brought their own story of the local climate, based on their own knowledge and experience, and together they negotiated what is most important. The group’s main goal was 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 then monitored these indicators for a year to test their quality for supporting community adaptation to climate change.
By the end of the TRACKS project, the goal was that the communities of northeast Bangladesh would have high quality knowledge of their local climate and a well-tested set of indicators for measuring its impact on the communities. The project also had as its aim to 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.