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One of the Eldis RSS newsfeeds on major development issues

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Does Agriculture Promote Diet Diversity? A Bangladesh Study

17 Jan 2017 05:10:04 GMT

It is now widely recognised that intake of sufficient dietary energy does not ensure adequate intake of protein and micronutrients necessary for leading an active and healthy life. Legumes, animal products, fruit and vegetables are important sources of minerals and micronutrients. Micronutrient deficiency causes impaired cognitive development, compromises immunity and incresses vulnerability to infectious diseases and, in severe cases, even causes mortality. 

Recent studies show that the consumption of animal and fish products, which are dense in protein and micronutrients, has a higher correlation with nutritional status than does energy consumption. Thus, to improve the nutritional situation it is crucial that issues of dietry quality are addressed in addition to those of dietry quantity.

The rate of decline in undernutrition and malnutrition in Bangladesh has not been matching economic and agricultural progress.  The persistence of undernutrition is considered a serious public health problem in Bangladesh.  This paper aims to estimate the recent changes in diet diversity from the detailed food intake data estimated from the household income and expenditure surveys, and analyse the drivers of change, including the level of income and sources of income such as agriculture.

Are Africans willing to pay higher taxes or user fees for better health care?

17 Jan 2017 01:09:38 GMT

In many parts of Africa, access to and quality of medical services remain poor. While economic growth in recent decades has fostered improved health care on the continent, weak funding, brain drain of trained professionals, and ongoing battles with diseases such as TB, HIV, diarrheal diseases, and malaria as well as recurring epidemics such as Ebola continue to put immense pressure on medical systems in many countries. Struggling medical systems confront governments and citizens with difficult choices: Needed investment in the medical sector must compete with other priorities, and increasing health spending by cutting other programs may not be a popular or even feasible solution. One alternative may be to raise taxes or user fees in order to increase available funding.
In its Round 6 surveys, Afrobarometer asked citizens in 36 African countries whether they would support or oppose paying higher taxes or user fees in order to increase government spending on public health care. This paper describes citizens’ responses and analyzes whether they are correlated with demographic factors, access to health services, and perceptions of health care, government performance, and official corruption.
Key findings:
  • on average across 36 surveyed countries, half (49%) of Africans went without medical care at least once in the year preceding the survey. Countries vary widely on this indicator, ranging from 3% in Mauritius to 78% in Liberia and 77% in Togo
  • among Africans who obtained medical care, four in 10 (42%) found it “difficult” or “very difficult” to do so
  • Africans are almost evenly divided on the question of whether to pay higher taxes or user fees in exchange for increased government spending on health care, with 42% in favour and 45% opposed. Only eight of 36 surveyed countries register majority support for such a policy (Madagascar, Mozambique, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mali, Namibia, and Gabon).
  • support for higher taxes/fees in exchange for increased health-care funding is correlated with public trust in the tax department and the president, positive performance evaluations for the president and members of Parliament, and the perception that leaders want to serve the people rather than themselves.
  • perceptions of official corruption and difficulties experienced in obtaining health care, on the other hand, tend to reduce support for higher taxes

Africa and external actors

13 Jan 2017 12:51:51 GMT

The Cape Town seminar in August 2016 brought together about 30 key scholars, policymakers, and civil society activists to assess bilateral and multilateral relations between Africa’s traditional and non-traditional actors in the post–Cold War era. Key issues pertaining to Africa’s relations with global actors were discussed under the following three broad themes: bilateral relations with traditional powers: the United States (US), Russia, China, France, and Britain; bilateral relations with  non-traditional powers: India; Japan; the Nordics; and Europe and the Arab world; and multilateral relations: the United Nations (UN), the BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the European Union (EU), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This meeting examined Africa’s relations with eight key bilateral actors or blocs and six major multilateral actors, assessing progress made in the continent’s efforts to increase its leverage in global politics through engagement with external actors. Policy recommendations:pro-Africa lobbyists in the US need to collaborate closely with legislators in the US Congress as well as Washington-based interest groups as they did during South Africa's anti-apartheid struggles in the 1980s. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) should also be mobilised to support these battlesthe tens of thousands of highly-educated Africans in America should further help to build a viable constituency for Africapeople-to-people relations are important in Africa’s relations with Russia. Russian cultural centres could therefore contribute to building Russo-African cultural relations to improve language barriers and to strengthen business partnerships with a view to changing stereotypes on both sidesAfrican countries should seize the potential opportunities presented by a weakened, less confident, and less cohesive post-“Brexit” Europe to redefine their relations with the European Union. This includes Africa calling for a moratorium on the economic partnership agreements while the EU completes its “divorce settlement” with Britain, and formulating substantive policy responses to issues such as BrexitAfrican countries should leverage China’s and India’s interest in the continent to reduce their dependence on traditional Western powers such as the US, Britain, and France, while Beijing and New Delhi should assist Africa in broadening its export base through technology transfer and knowledge-sharing. Francophone countries on the continent should reduce their political, economic, and cultural dependence on France. Furthermore, Africa must explore how it can borrow from India’s attitude towards aid and development, which is to accept aid as and when needed, and in specific ways to further its own socio-economic development based on a clear definition of its specific interestsAfrican governments should develop clear, coordinated positions on their goals and the strategies for achieving them in fora such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation; the Tokyo International Conference on African Development; and in respect of other rapidly emerging economies in the “global South” such as Brazil and IndiaAfrica remains a supplier of primary products to external actors, and should change its trade structures so that technical capacity transfer and capacity-building become more of a focus for partnerships with external actors, with local procurement and beneficiation given more prominence. Furthermore, African countries should claim their own individual and collective agency, and strengthen efforts to add value to their primary commodities; diversify their economies; and increase the competitiveness of the export of manufactured productsbuilding on the experiences of the Economic Community of West African States Ceasefire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the African Union missions in Burundi, Darfur, and Somalia, Africa needs to create an effe[...]

Zambia’s constitutional Groundhog Day: why national debate about constitutional reform is not going away anytime soon

13 Jan 2017 12:14:09 GMT

Since independence, Zambia has had five major constitutional amendments (an average of one every 10 years), a fact that has raised concerns about the country’s constitutional foundations. The constitution has been made a campaign issue in every presidential election since Zambia’s return to multiparty politics in the 1990s. In recent years, constitutional reform has become increasingly politicised and intransigent. The latest constitutional amendment, announced in January 2016, offered Zambians provisions that had long formed part of their aspirations and demands. Why then was the 2016 constitution recently defeated in a national referendum?

This policy briefing demonstrates how the interests of citizens have continually been placed behind the interests of Zambia’s political elite, including in the 2016 referendum.
  • political parties should collaborate to find consensus before undertaking constitutional amendments. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) highlights that a country’s constitution should enjoy popular legitimacy, and major amendments and revisions should not be undertaken lightly. Zambia highlights the dangers of politicising such a foundational aspect of any democracy
  • referendums should not be held concurrently with national general elections. Zambia’s 2016 referendum clearly suffered due to the broader political environment, ultimately failing to secure the minimum turnout required to legally validate the final outcome
  • sufficient time should be allocated to sensitise citizens ahead of a national referendum. Clearly, less than six months was insufficient notice for Zambians, as demonstrated by the low turnout and significant number of rejected (spoilt) ballots
  • double-barrelled referendum questions should be avoided. Keep questions simple. The 2016 Zambian referendum question fails on both counts here, and the outcomes are evident
  • the symbols used for ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ should be easy to understand. Using an eye for ‘Yes’ and an ear for ‘No’ proved contentious and confusing in the 2016 referendum

Utilising Electricity Access for Poverty Reduction - Full report

12 Jan 2017 02:30:46 GMT

The productive use of electricity can support sustained poverty reduction by enabling the creation and improvement of income generating activities. However, in order to realise these positive impacts, the level of electricity access must be sufficient and enabling conditions beyond the electricity supply itself must be in place.

The relationship between electricity access provision and poverty reduction has been unclear and policymakers are seeking answers to the following questions:

  • What level of electricity access is required to enable and sustain poverty escape?
  • What constraints, despite increased access to electricity, mean that people are not able to use that electricity productively? How can they be removed? 

The research presented in this report has sought to explore these questions through a review of existing literature and case studies in Kenya and India which looked at the policy and regulatory regime in each country, and included stakeholder interviews and field research. The Literature Review and Case Study reports are available seperately from the Practical Action website.

Steps to overcome the North–South divide in research relevant to climate change policy and practice

11 Jan 2017 11:41:23 GMT

The authors of this Nature Climate Change Perspective article argue that Northern (developed country) domination of science relevant to climate change policy and practice, and limited research led by researchers in Southern developing countries, may be hindering further development and implementation of global climate change agreements and nationally appropriate actions. They acknowledge that some efforts have been made to address the divide but argue that progress has been slow. The article illustrates the extent of the divide, reviews underlying issues and analyses their consequences for climate change policy develop-ment and implementation. The authors propose a set of practical steps that a wide range of actors should take at global, regional and national scales to address this knowledge divide, with examples of some actions already being implemented.

Financing Universal Access to Electricity

11 Jan 2017 05:21:27 GMT

The recent emphasis on the provision of modern energy services as an important ingredient for development has improved finance availability for the goal of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL).

However, existing financial flows are still insufficient to meet the target of universal access of sustainable energy by 2030 and often ignore poor people, who cannot afford the service, or those renewable energy technologies that cannot offer high rates of return.

Drawing on a large dataset of official development assistance and private investment for electrification between 1990 and 2012, our research has looked at the factors that explain donor and private finance in the electricity sector of developing countries. What lessons can be taken and shared with policymakers to avoid past mistakes and target countries and technologies that have been neglected in previous efforts?

Pro-Poor Access to Green Electricity in Kenya

11 Jan 2017 05:12:56 GMT

Is Kenya on track to follow an electrification strategy that is green and pro-poor? What are the main challenges to following this path? The two questions guiding this study are particularly relevant in a country with exceptional renewable energy resources, but where 80 per cent of the population lacks access to electricity and 50 per cent lives in poverty.

This study looks at four particular issues relating to access to green electricity for the poor: accessibility; commercial viability for project developers; financial sustainability for the State; and affordability. We will focus on grid electricity and mini-grids. For grid-connected generation, once electricity is fed to the grid, the issues of accessibility and affordability for the poor depend on national policies determining who gets electricity and at what price, making it impossible to differentiate between green and non-green electricity.

However, our study will show whether or not on-grid renewable generation can be financially sustainable in Kenya while providing affordable fees. For off-grid electricity, targeting the poor is a matter of situating generation capacity in the right places and affordability is a matter of setting prices that allow for cost recovery without being excessively expensive for the poor.

This report can support decision-making for development and climate finance institutions, as well as private investors in Kenya seeking a pro-poor green electrification strategy. It shows how to target the poor, which electrification alternatives to use, at what price, whether or not this is commercially viable and which policies would be required to make it so.

What Explains the Allocation of Aid and Private Investment for Electrification?

11 Jan 2017 03:02:42 GMT

This paper aims to inform policy looking to step up investment in the electricity sector of developing countries and align it to other development goals such as universal access to energy or sustainability.

Three questions guide the analysis:

  • How and why has private and donor finance for electrification changed across time?
  • What are the different motivations of private investors and donors as regards who and what gets financed?
  • Are sustainability and equitable access priorities for private and donor investment? 

These questions are addressed by describing finance flows during the period 1990–2010 and performing an econometric analysis to explain inter-country allocation.

Maximisation of Benefits for the Poor of Investments in Renewable Electricity: A Policy Tool for Project Planning

11 Jan 2017 02:56:58 GMT

Electricity improves users’ quality of life and can enable income generation when used for productive activities, hence supporting an escape from the poverty trap. Where generation comes from renewable sources, it also makes a positive contribution to low-carbon development; for many, this is a classic ‘win-win’ situation.

This report uses the evidence collected through a comprehensive literature review to develop a policy tool to maximise the poverty impact of electrification projects. It can be of use for development and climate finance institutions funding renewable energy projects in developing countries, and keen to enhance the poverty impacts of these projects.

Strengthening the Poverty Impact of Renewable Electricity Investments: Summary of E-Discussion

11 Jan 2017 02:47:57 GMT

On 19 and 20 March 2014 IDS convened an e-discussion on ‘strengthening the poverty impact of renewable electricity investments’. The event sought to instigate a global dialogue on what is required to maximise the poverty impact of clean electricity investments, as well as inform ongoing IDS work on this topic.

The e-discussion was structured around three threads:

  1. How strong is the evidence that electrification has an impact on poor people, and does this matter in decisions to finance renewable generation capacity projects?
  2. How can the poverty impact of renewable generation capacity projects be maximised?
  3. How can poverty eradication be introduced into the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) and climate finance agendas?

This note summarises the contributions made by different participants in the e-discussion. It generalises the points most commonly raised around each thread and reflects specific points of strong consensus or contestation, but without identifying specific contributors by name. It also provides a project team reflection on how valuable the event was for our research and why.

Climatic trends, risk perceptions and coping strategies of smallholder farmers in rural Uganda

10 Jan 2017 12:18:51 GMT

Smallholder farmers in Uganda face a wide range of agricultural production risks, with climate change and variability presenting new risks and vulnerabilities. Climate related risks  such as prolonged dry seasons have become more frequent and intense with negative impacts on agricultural livelihoods and food security.

This paper assesses farmers’ perceptions of climate change and variability and analyses historical trends in temperature and rainfall in two rural districts of Uganda in order to determine the major climate-related risks affecting crop and livestock production and to identify existing innovative strategies for coping with and adapting to climate-related risks, with potential for up-scaling in rural districts. The traditional coping strategies that have been developed by these communities overtime provide a foundation for designing effective adaptation strategies.

Drought, disease and pest epidemics, decreasing water sources, lack of pasture, bush fires, hailstorms, changes in crop flowering and fruiting times were the major climate-related risks reported across the two districts. Farmers use a wide range of agricultural technologies and strategies to cope with climate change and climate variability. Mulching, intercropping and planting of food security crops were among the most common practices used. Other strategies included water harvesting for domestic consumption, other soil and water conservation technologies and on-farm diversification. Farmers often use a combination of these technologies and practices to enhance agricultural productivity. The average maximum temperatures increased across the two districts. Trends in average annual rainfall showed mixed results with a general decline in one district and a relatively stable trend in the other district. Perceived changes in climate included erratic rainfall onset and cessation, which were either early or late, poor seasonal distribution of rainfall and little rainfall. Farmers also reported variations in temperatures. Farmers’ perception of changing rainfall characteristics and increasing temperatures were consistent with the observed historical climatic trends from meteorological data.

Malawi summary of baseline studies: country report for the GFCS Adaptation Program in Africa

10 Jan 2017 11:14:06 GMT

This report reflects the summary of baseline findings in Malawi, under the auspices of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Adaptation Programme in Africa. It identifies gaps in climate information access and use at the local level, types of climate services farmers and pastoralists need in Malawi, relevant channels to reach farmers with requested services, lead-time and gender-specific requirements for the design and delivery of climate services that matter to farmers.

The analysis supports several recommendations for improving the supply, delivery, and iterative feedback and improvement of climate services in Malawi:

  • to improve the supply of useful services, first develop climate service products to be responsive to farmer needs. Second, indicate value and integrate traditional indicators with the conventional climate forecasts to promote farmers’ use of scientific climate information in conjunction with their own indigenous knowledge. Finally, co-produce services with agricultural experts: establish a dialogue between national meteorology services, extension agents and farmers. This will represent an effective platform for relevant and useful climate services for farmers
  • to improve the delivery of climate information and advisories, climate information communication for farmers must rely on radio and extension workers both from government and NGOs. Extension agents should also be trained in understanding climate forecast concepts and integrate them into routine extension support
  • rigorous evaluation of climate services is a requirement for improving the usefulness of the services delivered. First, conduct post-season reviews to capture farmer feedback on received services. Second, continue to track climate information access and use at the local level, and changes against the baseline. 

This summary of CCAFS baseline findings from Malawi reveals the current state of climate information use at the local level, gaps and needs of farmers before they can benefit from improved science-based climate information, identifying the role of ICTs and rural radio to reach marginalized rural communities. It is hoped that these findings will offer valuable insights to the GFCS Adaptation Program in Africa, and future projects working to scale up relevant climate services for farmers and pastoralists in the country. 

Tanzania summary of baseline studies: country report for the GFCS Adaptation Program in Africa

10 Jan 2017 10:57:05 GMT

This report reflects upon the consolidated findings from the baseline and scoping studies conducted under the auspices of Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Adaptation Programme in Africa. It identifies gaps in climate information access and use at the local level, type of climate services farmers and pastoralists need in Tanzania, relevant channels to reach farmers with requested services, lead-time and gender specific requirements.

The analysis supports several recommendations for improving the supply, delivery, and iterative feedback and improvement of climate services in Tanzania:

  • to improve the supply of useful services, first, co-produce climate services with farmers, and integrate indigenous knowledge with scientific climate forecasts to enhance relevance of climate information for local communities. Second, ensure timely delivery of accurate climate services, which is essential for these services to be useful to farmers and pastoralists for agricultural decision-making. Finally, downscale climate information to render it location specific, and make the service more relevant and credible for farmers
  • to improve the delivery of climate information and advisories, first, invest in good radio coverage.  This is critical for the delivery of climate information as most households have access to climate information through radio. Second, diversify communication channels.  This includes leveraging the power of ICTs (cell phones voice messages and reliance on village leaders) to reach all farmers with climate information, including women. Third, train government extension agents in understanding climate forecasts, and rely on these agents to deliver the information
  • rigorous evaluation of climate services is a requirement for improving the usefulness of the services. Conduct post-season reviews to capture farmer feedback on received services. Lastly, continue to track climate information access and use at the local level, and note changes against the baseline

It is hoped that these findings will offer valuable insights to the GFCS Adaptation Program in Africa, and future projects working to scale up relevant climate services for farmers and pastoralists in Tanzania.  

Towards policy integration of disaster risk, climate adaptation, and development in ASEAN: a baseline assessment

10 Jan 2017 10:42:01 GMT

This Insight attempts to create a baseline assessment of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adap-
tation (CCA) policies in ten Southeast Asian countries. More than 50 per cent of global disaster mortality occurred in
Southeast Asia between 2004 and 2014, and four ASEAN member states are ranked in the top 10 countries most affected by climate risk between 1996 and 2015. The integration of relevant existing global mechanisms into national and local regulatory systems, and especially into national development plans, is therefore necessary to ensure the development of adaptive and resilience capacities. Although the region has realised the importance of streamlining DRR and CCA policies in development plans, a baseline of such efforts has yet to exist to date.

Crops, crop pests and climate change - why Africa needs to be better prepared

10 Jan 2017 04:22:59 GMT

Ongoing investments in agriculture will not deliver for Africa until the destabilising nature of crop pest events, especially shock outbreak events, are addressed. As a result of climate change, the prevalence of crop pests will change and the frequency of shock pest events will increase, putting agricultural systems at risk. The granularity of these changes, in terms of choices by farmers, cropping systems and markets, presents a critical challenge.
The following recommendations are put forward:
  • build capacity of plant health organisations, as key partners at the front-line against crop pests, in support of food security, trade and policy implementation
  • improve data gathering, centred on better understanding of critical metrics of crop pest impacts, extending beyond yield loss and encompassing economic and investment factors to improve prediction capabilities
  • enhance the understanding of risk behaviours of food chain stakeholders and their willingness to invest and adapt, to support increased adoption of technologies
  • improve fusion of disparate datasets and risk modelling of crop pest consequences for projections on farmer choices and cropping system at the landscape scale, informed by markets and policy
  • invest in pre-emptive crop pest resistance breeding against future high risk pests based on current and futured geographic distributions in order to avoid the consequences of shock pest episodes
  • take cognizance of the boundary-less nature of crop pests, and develop  regional supra-governmental capabilities for the analysis and articulation of horizon scanning and crop pest risk concerns under climate change

Climate and livestock disease: assessing the vulnerability of agricultural systems to livestock pests under climate change scenarios

10 Jan 2017 04:00:23 GMT

Livestock as a sector is extremely important to the global economy and to rural livelihoods. As of 2013, there was an estimated 38 billion livestock in the world, or five animals for every person. Most (81%) were in developing countries. Around one billion smallholder farmers keep livestock, many of them women. The burden of animal disease in developing countries is high: livestock disease probably kills 20% of ruminants and more than 50% of poultry each year causing a loss of approximately USD 300 billion per year. Climate change can exacerbate disease in livestock, and some diseases are especially sensitive to climate change. Among 65 animal diseases identified as most important to poor livestock keepers, 58% are climate sensitive. Climate change may also have indirect effects on animal disease, and these may be greater than the direct effects.

In order to address climate impacts on this sector, this paper makes the following recommendations:

  • invest in ‘no regret’ adaptation responses. Many adaptation responses based on improving the control of climate sensitive livestock diseases are ‘no-regret’ options, which, by reducing the burden of livestock disease, will enhance community resilience, alleviate poverty and address global inequity irrespective of climate change
  • improve disease surveillance and response in order to detect changes in disease in a timely way, thus dramatically reducing the costs of response. This requires investment and innovation in disease reporting systems as well as laboratories capable of confirming diseases. Risk-based and participatory surveillance are promising options for improving disease reporting
  • increase the capacity to forecast near term occurrence of climate sensitive diseases, and to predict longer-term distribution of diseases through better epidemiological information and ground-truthed models
  • improve animal health service delivery by investing in the public sector and supporting innovations in the private sector such as community animal health workers linked to private veterinarians. Promote “One Health” and Ecohealth approaches to disease control, especially in vulnerable communities with high reliance on livestock (e.g. pastoralists in East Africa)
  • support eradication of priority diseases where this is economically justified. Develop diagnostics and vaccines, and promote adoption of good practices and strengthened biosecurity to improve disease control
  • increase the resilience of livestock systems by supporting diversification of livestock and livelihoods, and integrating livestock farming with agriculture. Consider promotion of species and breeds that are more resistant to disease and climate change
  • adopt breeding strategies focused on identifying and improving breeds that are better adapted to climate change impacts and disease
  • understand the potential land use changes in response to climate change and monitor their impacts on animal disease to allow preventive or remedial actions

Mass displacement and the challenge for urban resilience

10 Jan 2017 02:54:01 GMT

The concept of urban resilience is increasingly being used to describe the attributes of the urban system that are needed to deal with environmental disasters, conflict and financial crises. Large-scale, sudden population movements, prompted by both rapid-onset ‘natural’ disasters such as floods and ‘man-made’ disasters like conflict are on the rise, seeing increasing numbers of displaced people moving into urban areas. This represents a significant stress factor, in particular for towns and cities with already weak formal institutions that face difficulties in delivering adequate basic services to growing populations.
The paper considers resilience to mass displacement in urban areas, focussing on the social and economic sub-systems – namely, shelter, health care and protection; basic service provision; economic development and employment; and social and political inclusion and community cohesion. It focuses on how well the urban system responds to new challenges and provides solutions for all residents. In particular, the paper finds that the resilience of an urban system cannot be understood without attention to the diverse experiences and needs of different groups within it: longer-term residents, new arrivals, temporary residents and, particularly, vulnerable groups.

Testing climate-smart agricultural technologies and practices in South- east Asia: a manual for priority setting

06 Jan 2017 12:55:46 GMT

The project Integrated agricultural technologies for enhanced adaptive capacity and resilient livelihoods in climate-smart villages (CSVs) of Southeast Asia aims to provide climate-smart agriculture options to enhance adaptive capacity among CSV farmers and stakeholders, and contribute to more climate-resilient livelihoods, in selected sites in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam. In order to facilitate a participatory process leading to the selection of the most effective technologies and practices, a team of CCAFS researchers worked on the development of a priority- setting manual.

This manual includes a number of principles and a sequence of six steps which were developed based on a critical review of past and ongoing participatory climate-smart technology selection experiences carried out as part of CCAFS in Africa and Asia, the experiences of the research team with similar processes and activities and were complemented by insights from the literature. A draft of the manual was put to test by the CIAT-Asia coordinated project research team in Ma village in the north of Vietnam in July 2015.  

Reaching more farmers: Innovative approaches to scaling up climate-smart agriculture

06 Jan 2017 12:50:42 GMT

The purpose of this working paper is to provide insight into how we can use novel approaches to scale up research findings on climate-smart agriculture (CSA) to meaningfully address the challenges of poverty and climate change. The approaches described include those based on value chains and private sector involvement, policy engagement, and information and communication technologies and agro-advisory services. The paper draws on 11 case studies to exemplify these new approaches to scaling up. These are synthesised using a simple conceptual framework that draws on a review of the most important challenges to scaling up. This provides the material for a discussion around how particular scaling up approaches can help to address some of the challenges of scaling up. The analysis offers insights into scaling approaches, challenges and some opportunities for scaling CSA practices and technologies.

The authors conclude that multi-stakeholder platforms and policy making networks are key to effective upscaling, especially if paired with capacity enhancement, learning, and innovative approaches to support decision making of farmers. Projects that aim to intervene upstream at higher leverage points can be highly efficient and probably offer cost-effective dissemination strategies that reach across scales and include new and more diverse partnerships. However, these novel approaches still face challenges of promoting uptake, which remain contextualized and thus require a certain level of local engagement, while continuously paying attention to farmer’s needs and their own situations.

Climate change impacts and mitigation in the developing world: an integrated assessment of the agriculture and forestry sectors

06 Jan 2017 12:21:41 GMT

This paper conducts an integrated assessment of climate change impacts and climate mitigation on agricultural
commodity markets and food availability in low- and middle-income countries. The analysis uses the partial
equilibrium model GLOBIOM to generate scenarios to 2080. The findings show that climate change effects on
the agricultural sector will increase progressively over the century. By 2030, the impact of climate change on food
consumption is moderate but already twice as large in a world with high inequalities than in a more equal world. In
the long run, impacts could be much stronger, with global average calorie losses of 6 percent by 2050 and 14 percent
by 2080. A mitigation policy to stabilize climate below 2°C uniformly applied to all regions as a carbon tax would
also result in a 6 percent reduction in food availability by 2050 and 12 percent reduction by 2080 compared to the
reference scenario.
To avoid more severe impacts of climate change mitigation on development than climate change itself, revenue from carbon pricing policies will need to be redistributed appropriately. Overall, the projected effects of climate change and mitigation on agricultural markets raise important issues for food security in the long run, but remain more limited in the medium term horizon of 2030. Thus, there are opportunities for low- and middle-income countries to pursue immediate development needs and thus prepare for later periods when adaptation needs and mitigation efforts will become the greatest.

Impacts of seasonal climate communication strategies on farm management and livelihoods in Wote, Kenya

06 Jan 2017 12:07:36 GMT

This study was undertaken in Wote division, Makueni district, Eastern province, Kenya, to test the effectiveness of different methods of communicating downscaled seasonal climate forecast information, and to assess its impact on management and productivity of smallholder farms. The communication methods tested include training workshops aimed at helping farmers understand downscaled probabilistic climate forecast information, agro-advisories that combined forecast information with advice on potential management options, and a combination of training and agro-advisory workshops. The study was conducted with about 120 farmers, 10 from each of 12 villages selected randomly from the villages that are within a 5 km radius from Kampi Ya Mawe research station for which long-term climate records are available, during the 2011-2012 short rain season. Three surveys, implemented during the pre-, mid-, and end-season periods, captured changes in management, productivity, and attitudes, associated with the provision of climate information. 

Relative to the control sample, farmers with access to enhanced climate information reduced their cropped area, invested in more intensive crop management, and achieved higher yields with attractive returns on investment relative to farmers in control villages. Farmers from treatment villages also demonstrated appreciation of the role of climate information in planning and managing farm activities, higher satisfaction with the season, and strong interest in receiving climate information on a regular basis. This interest was demonstrated by their willingness to pay a modest amount for the service if required.

The evaluation was disaggregated by gender. Gender influenced adjustments to crop mix in response to climate information, with women preferring short-duration legumes. Gender did not appear to affect the subjective value put on climate information, or willingness to pay.

South Africa's trade and investment relationship with the United States post-AGOA

06 Jan 2017 04:12:54 GMT

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been recognised as the  cornerstone of America’s engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa for the past 14 years. It is therefore central to an  understanding of the South Africa-US trade relationship. The recent extension of AGOA by  a further 10 years presents many  opportunities for improving that trade relationship and expanding economic ties. There are, however, areas for  caution, as was seen in the debates around the extension of AGOA and the terms of the inclusion of South Africa as a beneficiary of AGOA.

This policy brief considers the three main options available to South Africa in a post-AGOA trade and investment relationship with the United States: to stay in AGOA, negotiate a Free Trade Agreement, or fall back on Most Favoured Nation terms and the Generalized System of Preferences.  

India-Africa seed sector collaboration: emerging prospects and challenges

06 Jan 2017 03:36:47 GMT

India-Africa seed sector has promises for improving trade with various African nations. This discussion paper analyses the external orientation of the Indian seed industry, institutional architecture for enabling trade of vegetable crop seeds, explores the African seed sector for its dynamics and identifies challenges in the seed sector collaboration between the regions. It also brings forth a set of prescriptive recommendations and forward looking plans to strengthen the India-Africa seed sector collaboration.

Partnering with the New Development Bank: what improved services can it offer Middle-Income Countries?

06 Jan 2017 03:15:42 GMT

Multilateral development banks increasingly struggle to respond effectively to the needs of middle-income countries, influencing not only their potential development impact but also their own financial stability. This challenge has been driven by a changing external environment, including additional competition from other financiers, the changing needs of middle income countries and institutional constraints. Business processes that deter greater borrowing by countries, especially in the presence of other financiers with less strenuous requirements, also contribute to this situation. These include lengthy loan approval processes, limited use of in-country management systems and sensitivities around environmental and social safeguards. There is also a need for greater responsiveness and an emphasis on the importance of knowledge services. This paper highlights some of these challenges and offers some alternative solutions. The New Development Bank, as a new entrant to the development finance milieu, will do well to draw on the experiences of existing multilateral development banks to improve its offerings to countries.

Illicit financial flows estimating trade mispricing and trade-based money laundering for five African countries

06 Jan 2017 03:05:49 GMT

Illicit financial flows (IFFs) are garnered through the proceeds of illicit trade, trade mispricing, transfer pricing and other forms of organised profit-motivated crime. This paper focuses on the commercial tax evasion component of illicit financial flows (IFFs), clarifying concepts often used interchangeably, namely transfer pricing, abusive transfer pricing, trade mispricing (or trade mis-invoicing), trade-based money laundering (TBML), tax evasion and tax avoidance. It also shows how they link to IFFs. It estimates the extent of trade mispricing by enhancing the model currently used by Global Financial Integrity, and by developing a TBML model as a means of quantifying IFFs between two developing countries. There are data challenges with this methodology, as it is an estimation of illegal or hidden activities, using the International Monetary Funds Direction of Trade methodology.

The research points to declining trade mispricing in South Africa and Zambia for the period 2013-2015, and Nigeria for the period 2013-2014. Morocco and Egypt exhibit increasing trade mispricing from 2013 to 2014. The TBML model, which addresses the criticism regarding flows between two developing countries, points to increasing financial outflows for all five countries. These flows mean less revenue is available to the fiscus to invest in socio-economic infrastructure and pro-poor growth strategies, which would benefit women and the poor. Policy recommendations address commercial tax evasion as well as proposals to remedy the data anomalies.

Improving infrastructure finance for Low-Income Countries: recommendations for the ADF

06 Jan 2017 02:48:36 GMT

Low-income countries (LICs) in sub-Saharan Africa face a substantial infrastructure-financing gap. multi-lateral development banks (MLDBs) have traditionally played an important role in mobilising finance for infrastructure in LIcs, but their funding alone cannot match demand. the african development Bank’s (AfDB) concessional window, the african development fund (ADF), is a key infrastructure financier for african LICs, and comprises 37 regional member countries (RMCs), including emerging markets and fragile states. however, in recent years the ADF has faced funding and technical constraints.

This policy brief, based on a discussion paper, outlines the ADF’s role in providing infrastructure financing to LIcs and the challenges that countries face in accessing these funds. It also examines the changing context confronting LIcs as they weigh their infrastructure demands against the requirement to maintain sustainable debt levels. Lastly, the brief explores the challenges and opportunities of mobilising additional finance for LICs.

Policy recommendations:

  • in order to target growing international concerns around debt sustainability, the ADF should increase its efforts to work with countries in understanding and managing their debt levels
  • the ADF should continue to streamline its approval and implementation processes, targeting national capacity bottlenecks as early as possible and ensuring the continuity of AfDB officials from the appraisal to monitoring stages
  • the ADF should direct efforts towards increasing LIC awareness and understanding of its private finance mobilisation tools through greater promotion and dissemination of information, and should increase technical support and training for PPPs. It should place greater focus on measuring the developmental impacts of projects, especially where the private sector is involved
  • project preparation requires more ADF funding, and the ADF’s PPF should explore cost recovery mechanisms to ensure sustainability. LIC governments should create better co-ordination and unified support around proposed projects to decrease risks
  • LICs should be assisted in accessing the non-concessional ADB funds available to them

Côte d’Ivoire’s comeback: the revival of Ivorian regional diplomacy

06 Jan 2017 02:35:13 GMT

Over the past few decades, Côte d’Ivoire has been a passive and often problematic actor within its region. This has been the case since the death of the first president of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, on 7 december 1993. under Houphouët-Boigny the country encouraged migration by opening up its borders to neighbouring countries and actively linking France to the region. However, after his death the country fell into a cycle of crises characterised by political and economic instability as a result of coups d’état and civil war. This saw the country’s influence decline in west africa and beyond.

Côte d’Ivoire’s diplomacy and foreign policy is embedded in key documents such as the country’s constitution, act 2007-669 and decree 2011-248. This is indicative of its aspirations as an influential political and economic actor in the region. since the election of President alassane Ouattara in 2011 Côte d’Ivoire has slowly re-emerged as a stable regional and international actor. The country has sought to improve relations with neighbouring states, focusing on the policy of ‘good neighbourliness’, which entails fostering regional stability and economic prosperity through dialogue. The country has re-established itself as a key player in regional forums such as ECOwas and the west african Economic and Monetary union.

On a continental level, critics had predicted that relations between Côte d’Ivoire and south africa would sour due to former president Thabo Mbeki’s support for laurent Gbagbo, Ouattara’s predecessor. However, relations between the countries have remained stable, indicating Côte d’Ivoire’s commitment to strengthening its regional and international diplomacy. However, the country also needs to strengthen its governance and economy, and improve the living standard of its people while more firmly establishing itself as an influential regional, continental and international actor.

South Africa’s state-building role in the DRC: kicking the can down the road

06 Jan 2017 02:18:06 GMT

As the mooted presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is postponed to December 2018, South Africa’s most significant engagement in post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD) since its return to African affairs in 1994 hangs in the balance. While South Africa has done a fairly decent job of supporting the DRC at various difficult intervals since the 1990s, the model it has pursued in that country appears to be falling short of the demands of strategic state and institution building. It is a model at the end of its resources.

This policy insights paper argues that these shortcomings are a result not only of South Africa’s inability to master the challenging political terrain in the DRC but also of Pretoria’s pushback from value-driven doctrines in its diplomacy. This severely impacts South Africa’s ideological and normative posture, particularly the manner in which it is inconsistently articulated in the political institution-building process in the DRC – a complex country with multi-layered issues and competing external and domestic stakeholders.

Is Climate-Smart Agriculture effective? A review of selected cases

06 Jan 2017 02:13:26 GMT

Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an approach to address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, and has three objectives: (1) sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development; (2) adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and (3) reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture
(including crops, livestock and fisheries). This paper examines 19 CSA case studies, to assess their effectiveness in achieving the stated objectives of CSA, while also assessing other co-benefits, economic costs and benefits,
barriers to adoption, success factors, and gender and social inclusion issues.

The analysis concludes that CSA interventions can be highly effective, achieving the three CSA objectives, while also generating additional benefits in a cost-effective and inclusive manner. However, this depends on context specific project design and implementation, for which institutional capacity is key. The paper also identifies serious gaps in data availability and comparability, which restricts further analysis.

Gender in climate-smart agriculture: module 18 for gender in agriculture sourcebook

06 Jan 2017 01:50:39 GMT

This module provides guidance and a comprehensive menu of practical tools for integrating gender in the planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of projects and investments in climate-smart agriculture (CSA). The module emphasizes the importance and ultimate goal of integrating gender in CSA practices, which is to reduce gender inequalities and ensure that men and women can equally benefit from any intervention in the agricultural sector to reduce risks linked to climate change. Climate change has an impact on food and nutrition security and agriculture, and the agriculture sector is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. It is crucial to recognize that climate change affects men and women differently. The content is drawn from tested good practice and innovative approaches, with an emphasis on lessons learned, benefits and impacts, implementation issues, and replicability. These insights and lessons related to gender in CSA will assist practitioners to improve project planning, design, monitoring, and evaluation; to effectively scale up and enhance the sustainability of efforts that are already underway; or to pursue entirely different solutions. This module contains five thematic notes (TNs) that provide a concise and technically sound guide to gender integration in the selected themes. These notes summarize what has been done and highlight the success and lessons learned from projects and programs. [Wolrd Bank summary]

Sustainable small ruminant breeding program for climate-smart villages in Kenya

06 Jan 2017 01:44:36 GMT

Improving productivity of sheep and goats (i.e. small ruminants- SR) under smallholder farming systems faced with challenges of unfavourable climatic events has been identified as one means of enhancing livelihoods of communities living in these areas. Interventions are targeted through clusters of farmers grouped into “climate smart villages” (CSV) under a collaborative action by CCAFS, ViAgroforestry, World Neighbours and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization.

This baseline study was implemented to understand the socio-economic aspects, population structure, management practices and production constraints of SR in the CSV of the Lower Nyando basin of Kenya. The results indicate that the community is mainly comprised of young people (mainly students) and men and women above 50 years of age who manage the various households. Land sizes owned are small, with 58% of the households owning less than one hectare of land on which they grow crops and rear on average eight SR in addition to some cattle and poultry. The SR reared are mainly indigenous breeds, with some crossbreds resulting from the few introduced Red Maasai sheep and the Galla goats for improved productivity. Breeding of SR is not controlled, and since larger animals fetch better prices on the market, over time negative selection has affected the SR population. SR are generally left to graze on stovers from crops, and take a long time to grow to maturity (up to 4 years). Farmers in the CSV know what traits they desire in their SR, and are willing to learn and change their practices in order to improve their livelihoods.

It is evident that the organization of the households into CSVs provides a great opportunity for capacity development which should have a strong component of engaging the youth, and the development of a selection and breed improvement program for SR in the Lower Nyando area.

Training agricultural research & extension staff to produce and communicate agro-climatic information, to enhance the resilience and food security of farmers and pastoralists in Kiteto, Tanzania

06 Jan 2017 01:20:48 GMT

National Agricultural Extension Systems in ten districts in Tanzania and Malawi are receiving training in the production and use of climate services as part of a WFP-CCAFS joint activity within the GFCS Adaptation Programme in Africa. This document reports on the first training of intermediaries, conducted for 30 agricultural extension and NGO staff from Kiteto District, Tanzania, 13-17th October 2014 and draws lessons from this to feed forward into preparation and training in the remaining districts in 2015. Preparation for the course included analysis of historical climate information, as well as training of staff from the Tanzania Meteorological Agency in downscaling using the Climate Prediction Tool (CPT). The ensuing training course for intermediaries covered the Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) approach. This aimed to equip agricultural extension field staff to provide local historical climate information, seasonal and sub-seasonal forecasts (seamless forecasts) together with crop and livelihood information and to facilitate use of participatory decision making tools by smallholder farmers, in order to enhance farm and field-level decision making for resilience and food security.

Training included a strong practical component. At the end of the training course agricultural extension officers and NGO staff developed plans for implementation in the locations that they work. Formal and informal feedback from participants was very positive. From this first training several improvements to feed into subsequent training in Tanzania and Malawi were identified and recommendations are made. These include: how to ensure that climate information for districts is analysed well in advance; appropriate crop and livestock management options are identified to cover variation within each district; climatic variability is adequately addressed within districts; and the potential benefits of CPT downscaled forecasting are fully explored.

Bhutan climate + change handbook

05 Jan 2017 12:37:31 GMT

Bhutan sits in the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH), and, like its regional neighbours,faces numerous existential challenges, driven primarily by climate change. Warming trends and melting glaciers pose serious threats to the nation and its inhabitants.
This Climate Change Adaptation Resource Handbook has been developed as part of the activities implemented under the EU-funded Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalayas Initiative. This book is aimed at government officials and other local policymakers who wish to understand the impacts of climate change with specific reference to Bhutan.

Climate models: what they show us and how they can be used in planning

05 Jan 2017 12:07:35 GMT

The climate conditions that we experience are the result of complex interactions between processes occurring in the atmosphere and in the oceans. These processes operate at global and local scales and are influenced by other factors, including the land surface, polar ice sheets and the sun. This is why different parts of the world experience different climates. Global Climate Models (GCMs) are computer models that attempt to capture and simulate all these processes, based on our current knowledge.
Global Climate Models are run on supercomputers at a number of centres around the world, including the Max Planck Institute in Germany, the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the USA. The models use physical laws and mathematical equations that reflect our understanding of atmospheric and oceanic processes.
The nature of planning decisions that are made over the medium term is different from those that are made in the short term. So what is required from climate projections is different from what is needed from shorter-term weather predictions. The resolution provided by GCMs is useful to inform medium- to long-term planning decisions. The poor availability of historical weather observations in some parts of Africa for example limits understanding of how reliable these models are.

Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: experiences of women fish-processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin

03 Jan 2017 11:11:51 GMT

In recent years, research on climate change and human security has received much attention among policy makers and academia alike. Communities in the Global South that rely on an intact resource base and struggle with poverty, existing inequalities and historical injustices will especially be affected by predicted changes in temperature and precipitation.

The objective of this article is to better understand under what conditions local communities can adapt to anticipated impacts of climate change. The empirical part of the paper answers the question as to what extent local women engaged in fish processing in the Chilwa Basin in Malawi have experienced climate change and how they are affected by it.
The article assesses an adaptation project designed to make those women more resilient to a warmer and more variable climate. The research results show that marketing and improving fish processing as strategies to adapt to climate change have their limitations. The study concludes that livelihood diversification can be a more effective strategy for Malawian women to adapt to a more variable and unpredictable climate rather than exclusively relying on a resource base that is threatened by climate change.

Media Monitoring Report: The Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development (LECRD) Project: Volume and Quality of Media Coverage of Climate Change and El Niño related Disasters in Kenya

03 Jan 2017 10:36:33 GMT

Media play a crucial role in mitigation of risks that come with natural disasters like El Niño. Citizens rely on the media for public education, early warning, evacuation, and coordination of  post-disaster relief. Media is inextricably entwined with disasters and hazard mitigation. Electronic and print media often cover natural disasters and significantly affect how and what the public learns about and perceives natural hazards. Improving the linkages between media and disaster-mitigation practitioners can therefore prepare the public to act promptly on warnings and in the process, help to mitigate disasters.  This can also accelerate the shift of the societal emphasis from post-disaster relief toward pre-disaster initiatives.

This report examines the experiences, perceptions and recommendations of sampled professional journalists and an extensive content analysis of the media coverage of the disasters and climate change in Kenya. The aim of the report was to establish a basic understanding of the challenges that the media faces in reporting disasters and climate change issues in Kenya.

Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures

03 Jan 2017 10:11:21 GMT

One of the most significant, and perhaps most misunderstood, risks that organisations face today relates to climate change. While it is widely recognized that continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming of the planet and this warming could lead to damaging economic and social consequences, the exact timing and severity of physical effects are difficult to estimate. The large-scale and long-term nature of the problem makes it uniquely challenging, especially in the context of economic decision making. Accordingly, many organizations incorrectly perceive the implications of climate change to be long term and, therefore, not necessarily relevant to decisions made today. The potential impacts of climate change on organizations, however, are not only physical and do not manifest only in the long term. To stem the disastrous effects of climate change within this century, nearly 200 countries agreed in December 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the transition to a lower-carbon economy. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions implies movement away from fossil fuel energy and related physical assets. This coupled with rapidly declining costs and increased deployment of clean and energy-efficient technologies could have significant, near-term financial implications for organizations dependent on extracting, producing, and using coal, oil, and natural gas. While such organizations may face significant climate- related risks, they are not alone. In fact, climate- related risks and the expected transition to a lower-carbon economy affect most economic sectors and industries. While changes associated with a transition to a lower-carbon economy present significant risks, they also create significant opportunities for a broad range of organizations focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions. Because this transition to a lower-carbon economy requires significant and, in some cases, disruptive changes across economic sectors and industries in the near term, financial policymakers are interested in the implications for the global financial system, especially in terms of avoiding severe financial shocks and sudden losses in asset values. Potential shocks and losses in value include the economic impact of precipitous changes in energy use and the revaluation of carbon-intensive assets—real and financial assets whose value depends on the extraction or use of fossil fuels. Given such concerns, and the potential impact on financial intermediaries and investors, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors asked the Financial Stability Board to review how the financial sector can take account of climate- related Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures iiiissues. As part of its review, the Financial Stability Board identified the need for better information to support informed investment, lending, and insurance underwriting decisions to improve understanding and analysis of climate-related risks and opportunities, and over time, to help promot[...]

Assessing the evidence: migration, environment and climate change in Viet Nam

03 Jan 2017 09:57:26 GMT

The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam is one of the six pilot countries of the European Union-funded Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP) project.

Drawing from an extensive number of sources, including academic papers and reports produced by the Government and national and international organizations, this assessment aims to: (i) provide an overview of the linkages between migration patterns and environmental change in VietNam; (ii) critically analyse national policies that address these links; and (iii) propose some related research and policy implications.

Viet Nam is particularly exposed to floods and typhoons as well as droughts and sea-level rise, which have major impacts on the country’s environment and the livelihoods of its 90.73 million people. Adverse environmental conditions clearly influence migration patterns in the country: since the 1990s, the relocation programmes implemented by the Government for communities affected by environmental degradation and the number of people internally displaced by natural hazards in recent years (more than 2 million between 2008 and 2015) are clear signs of the migration–environment nexus.

The report concludes that more detailed research should be conducted in order to fully understand the migration–environment nexus and exhaustively address the needs of relocated and displaced people in the country. The establishment of a ministry of migration could play an important role in ensuring that people migrate in the best conditions

National Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Security Action Plan of Ghana (2016-2020)

03 Jan 2017 05:11:41 GMT

This policy document – National Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Security Action Plan – is produced on the conviction that climate-smart agricultural practices, the bedrock of food security should be deliberately programmed in Ghana.

The National Climate Change Policy provides a broad framework for formulating specific strategies to address local climate change challenges. This Action Plan therefore is an effort to translate to the ground level the broad national goals and objectives in climate-smart agriculture. A policy document such as this cannot derive solely from the National Climate Change Policy. A key step in preparing this document was the review of the relevant existing policy documents for direction and inputs. In the review, every effort was made to distil the essence of the various policy documents and factor these into the design of contents of the National Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Security Action Plan.

State of climate information products and services for agriculture and food security in Myanmar

03 Jan 2017 04:57:32 GMT

The increasing variability of seasonal climate and increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events that are expected to accompany climate change will impact agricultural production and food security in Southeast Asia. The timely provision of climate information is one mechanism to help societies and individuals prepare for and adapt to these

This report assesses the state of climate information products and services in Myanmar, including how such services are disseminated and utilized by national actors. It includes recommendations to help meet the climate information needs of the agriculture and food security sector in Myanmar.

Environmental characterisation to guide breeding decisions in a changing climate

03 Jan 2017 04:43:05 GMT

Agriculture faces and will continue to face multiple challenges. Most notably, the need to meet food demand for a rapidly growing and urbanising population under increasingly variable and warmer climates. Substantial evidence now exists suggesting that agricultural yields will have to increase significantly in order to meet food needs during the 21st century. One such way of increasing yields is to develop high yielding cultivars through crop improvement. Additionally, the development of novel, climate-adapted varieties that ably tolerate stresses will be key in order to respond to regional climatic changes.  

The development of high yielding and climate-adapted crop varieties, however, requires an understanding of how crops respond to spatio-temporal variations in soil, climate and management, as well as an assessment of the main factors limiting yields. This is because genotype-by-environment interactions sometimes prevent plant breeding progress for broad adaptation and/or for adaptation to specific conditions within a region. Therefore, understanding yield constraints and their spatio-temporal variations will ultimately lead to improved priority setting and more rapid progress in breeding programs.  

This Working Paper summarises the results of a CCAFS project named Target Population of Environments (TPE). The project aimed at providing actionable information to crop breeders and, therefore, inform breeding decisions.

Interactive radio’s promising role in climate information services: Farm Radio International concept paper

03 Jan 2017 04:35:19 GMT

Farmers require relevant, timely and continuous information and advice regarding historic climate variability, probabilistic seasonal forecasts, and monitoring and short-lead information about growing season weather.
Climate services are most useful when built upon dialogue between climate scientists, local expert forecasters, intermediaries, and users such as farmers, pastoralists, project and programme staff, government planners, businesses and others who benefit from climate information (Ambani & Percy 2014). However the cost and limited reach of face-to-face interactions presents challenges to scaling up climate services for smallholder farmers.  
Radio broadcasts, on the other hand, have tremendous reach and coverage, and are very efficient. However, radio broadcasts are conventionally one-way methods of disseminating data that do not provide the exchange, discussion and explanation that helps with decision- making. Further, radio broadcasts are fleeting; one either hears them when they are broadcast, or they are missed. If the weather forecasts are broadcast at a time that farmers cannot listen, they are not helpful.  

Recent developments in interactive radio, which combines radio with widespread and growing mobile phone access, offer the exciting prospect of combining the benefits of participatory interaction with the immense reach of radio and mobile phones. Interactive radio integrates accurate and interpretive radio broadcasts with “on demand” access to interactive voice response (IVR) systems, SMS services, and unique uses of missed call voting to provide users with personalized feedback and allow for two-way communication and learning.  

Interactive radio combines some of the benefits of face-to-face interaction (between farmers and climate experts) found in workshops with the reach of mass media to provide equitable access to female and male rural farmers. This paper proposes a framework and strategy for developing interactive radio programing to extend the reach and benefits of weather and seasonal climate information and related advisory services for smallholder farmers. It offers a promising complement to face-to-face interaction and other methods of delivering climate information to farmers.

Gender, livestock and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Costa Rica

03 Jan 2017 04:11:06 GMT

Costa Rica is developing a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) that will provide climate finance for best livestock management practices that generate climate change mitigation benefits. The LivestockPlus research project, implemented by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and partners, seeks to inform the NAMA by providing scientific evidence for improved pasture and cattle management to sustainably improve yields while also reducing emissions. Women are a target beneficiary of the research, yet the relevance of gender to the project’s aims has been unclear. A scoping exercise to identify opportunities to strengthen the gender component was therefore undertaken in 2015 using a case study in Costa Rica and a literature review.  This exercise identified women’s roles as (1) co-decision-makers with men in the household, (2) users of milk for making cheese (most households) and (3) farmers directly involved in livestock production activities under some circumstances.  Girls, together with boys, frequently played a role in the daily care of animals, which may influence girls’ capacities and willingness to become future farmers. The scoping exercise indicated opportunities for enhancing women’s roles in the cattle value chain and more generally, supporting women’s inclusion in (i) livestock and innovation for climate change mitigation, (ii) gender-responsive implementation of the NAMA, and (iii) capacity development.The following priority actions are recommended for strengthening gender research in Costa Rica:create an umbrella strategy for all members of the LivestockPlus consortium to develop, coordinate and implement research on gender, livestock and mitigation. The strategy should examine opportunities to empower women in the cattle value chain (e.g., improve their role in participation and access to benefits related to cheese making) and include women in innovation processes, NAMA implementation and capacity building. The strategy should be responsive to the needs of both men and women farmers and stakeholders in the consortiumbuild synergies across the gender component of the project’s research streams.  This should include strengthening the gender component in value chain development, identifying the opportunities and constraints to women’s effective participation in intermediary organizations; and improving among all streams the understanding of men and women’s empowerment, with the aim of improving women’s participation in decision making and access to benefits. Research on intermediary organisations, such as informal farmer organisations, Costa Rica’s Livestock Development Corporation (CORFOGA chapters, community-level organizations, women's groups, and private sector value chain partners  is essential to identify and develop opportunities for women to participate in[...]

Gender dimensions of vulnerability to climate change in China

03 Jan 2017 03:35:43 GMT

China is vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change in various ways, including through disasters such as floods, droughts and typhoons, and is therefore a key player in the global efforts to mitigate climate change.

This publication presents the findings of new research study on how gender equality, climate change and disaster risks intersect in China. The research investigates gender gaps in China’s policy framework, attitudes and gender composition of government institutions, NGOs’ roles as well men and women’s differential vulnerabilities to the adverse impacts of climate change.

The research report also outlines 15 recommendations for the next steps. The report’s data was collected through a policy review, 84 interviews and a survey of over 3400 people in eight counties of Jiangsu, Qinghai and Shaanxi provinces. The research will support evidence-based discussion on how China can integrate gender into climate change action and disaster risk reduction over the coming years.


Impact of a peer-counseling intervention on breastfeeding practices in different socioeconomic strata: results from the equity analysis of the PROMISE-EBF trial in Uganda

23 Dec 2016 12:15:37 GMT

Background: Undernutrition is highly prevalent among infants in Uganda. Optimal infant feeding practices may improve nutritional status, health, and survival among children.

Objective:  Our  study  evaluates  the  socioeconomic  distribution  of  exclusive  breastfeeding  (EBF)  and  growth outcomes among infants included in a trial, which promoted EBF by peer counselors in Uganda.

Design:   Twenty-four  clusters   comprising   one   to   two   communities   in   Uganda  were   randomized   into intervention  and  control  arms,  including  765  mother-infant  pairs.  Intervention  clusters  received  the  promotion  of  EBF  by  peer  counselors  in addition to standard care. Breastfeeding and growth outcomes were compared according to wealth quintiles and  intervention/control  arms.  Socioeconomic  inequality  in  breastfeeding  and  growth  outcomes  were measured  using  the  concentration  index  12  and  24  weeks  postpartum.  We  used  the  decomposition  of  the concentration index to identify factors contributing to growth inequality at 24 weeks.

Results:  EBF  was  significantly  concentrated  among  the  poorest  in  the  intervention  group  at  24  weeks postpartum, concentration index - 0.060. The control group showed a concentration of breastfeeding among the richest part of the population, although not statistically significant. Stunting, wasting, and underweight were  similarly  significantly  concentrated  among  the  poorest  in  the  intervention  group  and  the  total population at 24 weeks, but showing non-significant concentrations for the control group.

Conclusion:  This  study  shows  that  EBF  can  be  successfully  promoted  among  the  poor.  In  addition, socioeconomic inequality in growth outcomes starts early in infancy, but the breastfeeding intervention was not strong enough to counteract this influence.

Combining long-lasting insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying for malaria prevention in Ethiopia: study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial

23 Dec 2016 12:01:22 GMT

Background: Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) are the main malaria prevention interventions in Ethiopia. There is conflicting evidence that the combined application of both interventions is better than either LLINs or IRS used alone. This trial aims to investigate whether the combination of LLINs (PermaNet 2.0, Vestergaard Frandsen, Lausanne, Switzerland) with IRS using propoxur will enhance the protective benefits and cost-effectiveness of the interventions against malaria and its effect on mosquito behavior, as compared to each intervention alone.

Methods/Design: This 2 x 2 factorial cluster randomized controlled trial is being carried out in the Adami Tullu district in south-central Ethiopia for about 116 weeks from September 2014 to December 2016. The trial is based on four arms: LLINs + IRS, LLINs alone, IRS alone and control. Villages (or clusters) will be the unit of randomization. The sample size includes 44 clusters per arm, with each cluster comprised of approximately 35 households (about 175 people). Prior to intervention, all households in the LLINs + IRS and LLINs alone arms will be provided with LLINs free of charge. HouseholdsintheLLINs+IRSandIRSalonearmswillbesprayedwithcarbamatepropoxuronceayearjust before the main malaria transmission season throughout th e investigation. The primary outcome of this trial will be a malaria incidence based on the results of the rapid diagnostic tests in patients with a fever or history of fever attending health posts by passive case detection. C ommunity-based surveys will be conducted each year to assess anemia among children 5 – 59 months old. In addition, community-b ased malaria prevalence surveys will be conducted each year on a representative sample of households during the main transmission season. The cost-effectiveness of the interventions and entomological studies will be simultaneously conducted. Analysis will be based on an intention-to-treat principle.

Discussion: This trial aims to provide evidence on the combined use of LLINs and IRS for malaria prevention by answering the following research questions: Can the co mbined use of LLINs and IRS significantly reduce the incidence of malaria compared with the use of either LLINs or IRS alone? And is the reduced incidence justifiable compared to the added costs? Will the combined use of LLINs and IRS reduce vector density, infection, longevity and the entomological inoculation rate? These data are crucial in order to maximize the impact of vector control interventions on the morbidity and mortality of malaria

“Loss and Damage” and “Liability and Compensation” – What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?

21 Dec 2016 02:20:16 GMT

An article on the Wilson Center's New Security Beat blog that examines how the langauge used to describe loss and damage resulting from climate change shifted away from talking about liability and compensation towards a definition that was more about risk and uncertainty.

Chronology - Loss and Damage

21 Dec 2016 01:31:04 GMT

Official UNFCCC chronology detailing the process and negotiations leading up to the creation of the Warsaw International Mechanism on loss and damage and the subsequent inclusion of loss and damage in Article 8 of the Paris Agreement. The chronology goes back as far as 2011.

Strategic Ambiguity: How Loss and Damage Became a Part of Global Climate Policy

21 Dec 2016 01:07:30 GMT

This guest blog post on the Wilson Center's New Security Beat blog provides a useful overview of how the changing, and increasingly ambiguous, language and definitions used to describe loss and damage in global climate change negotiations ultimately allowed agreement to be reached. The article charts the history of the debate around loss and damage leading upt ot the agreement of the Warsaw International Mechanism and the subsequent Paris Agreement.