Dr Sandra Bhatasara

Project Title: Local ecological knowledge in responding to climate change: Localizing SGD 13 in the Zimbabwean context


SDG 13 (Climate Action) provides targets and indicators for nation states in addressing climate change. Yet the norms underpinning this global framework are hardly scrutinized because a hegemonic discourse (Hulme 2008) has been created by the so-called ‘arbiters’ of climate change knowledge such as the IPCC (Boykoff et al. 2007). Coloniality has been well‐identified in the development project, which has long been forcefully critiqued for its emergence from Empire and for various neo‐colonial practices (Hope 2020). Therefore this project investigates how local climate knowledge in Africa can be the starting point in implementing SDG 13 instead of uncritically or unduly imposing global climate change knowledge to local situations or totally disregarding local knowledge. The research therefore offers a critique of SDG 13 and the knowledge that informs it. In this case, climate action on mitigation and adaptation ceases to be a technical scientific knowledge field inaccessible to local communities where action actually takes place. The research contributes to challenging global climate change knowledge (epistemic hegemonies as Achille Mbembe calls it) through developing an African discourse on climate action. The research combines African decolonial thinking and post- development theories.

Working with: Dr David Higgins