Subscribe: General - all subjects
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
adaptation  africa  arid  change  climate change  climate  development  key  policy  research  semi arid  semi  vulnerability 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: General - all subjects

General - all subjects

One of the Eldis RSS newsfeeds on major development issues

Copyright: Copyright ©2013 Eldis, Sussex

Livelihood vulnerability and adaptation in Kolar District, Karnataka, India: Mapping risks and responses

02 Dec 2016 11:40:23 GMT

During March and April 2016, ASSAR India’s researchers from the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) conducted 18 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) in nine villages in Kolar District, Karnataka. The FGDs were gender-differentiated and ensured representation from different income groups, castes, and religions.

Focussing on migration as a key livelihood strategy to address vulnerability, and one that spans the rural-urban continuum, this project conducted research in the Kolar District. Kolar falls in the eastern dry agro-climatic zone in south Karnataka.

The district is characterised by erratic rainfall, low soil moisture, high groundwater exploitation, and rapid land use change, all of which are mediated by social inequalities and governance challenges to shape local vulnerability.

Climatic and non-climatic stressors challenge natural resource-based livelihoods in the district and people are coping by moving into tenuous and unsafe employment in urban centres to work as construction labourers, gardeners, and domestic helpers. Migration and commuting has emerged as a key livelihood strategy, but one that may further exacerbate the vulnerability of those who move into cities and those who are left behind.

Key messages:

  • climatic factors such as drought and erratic rain shape livelihood vulnerability (especially of farmers in Kolar). Other factors such as natural resource degradation, lack of capital to invest in farming, market fluctuations,
    village proximity to road networks, one’s gender and caste, as well as changing aspirations of the youth shape the choices that people are making to deal with this vulnerability
  • in Kolar, many people are coping with everyday risk by diversifying their livelihoods into non-agricultural jobs, but these jobs are often informal and impermanent in nature
  • while external actors such as the government and local NGOs are investing in building local capacity, without addressing the multi-scale structural issues that drive vulnerability (e.g., caste-based differential access to subsidies), these investments may not meet intended outcomes of adaptation

Key findings from ASSAR's Regional Diagnostic Study and initial research: Sangamner Sub-Region, Maharashtra

02 Dec 2016 11:34:03 GMT

The five-year (2014-2018) Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project uses insights from multi-scale, interdisciplinary work to inform and transform climate adaptation policy and practice in ways that promote the long-term wellbeing of the most vulnerable and those with the least agency. This brief identifies and characterises the key vulnerabilities in Sangamner.

Key insights:

  • groundwater is the primary source of water for both the agricultural and drinking needs of the area. However, the widespread, regional overexploitation of groundwater, compromises its access and availability, and makes its management and governance crucial
  • there has been a regional shift in cropping patterns from food crops to cash crops. There has also been an increase in crossbred milch cattle and buffalos, and a decline in indigenous breeds. These shifts are high-profit, high-risk strategies and could increase vulnerabilities, particularly in the case of poor and marginal farmers
  • in Maharashtra, government, private and civil society actors have been taking steps to use information technology to provide weather, crop and market-related services to farmers. By providing farmers with timely, reliable, and useful information, these services have the potential to reduce farmer vulnerability to both climatic and non-climatic risks

Key findings from ASSAR's Regional Diagnostic Study and initial research: Moyar Bhavani sub-region, Tamil Nadu

02 Dec 2016 11:07:38 GMT

The five-year (2014-2018) Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project uses insights from multi-scale, interdisciplinary work to inform and transform climate adaptation policy and practice in ways that promote the long-term wellbeing of the most vulnerable and those with the least agency. In this brief identifies and and characterises the key vulnerabilities in Moyar Bhavani.

Key insights:

  • smallholders dependent on natural resources for their livelihood will be primarily affected by the impacts of climate change, and will often be the least able to adapt. These impacts will be felt most severely in resource stressed regions particularly semi-arid areas of poorly developed regions
  • smallholder farmers in the region are most susceptible to the vagaries of climate; this, coupled with pressure from urbanisation and inept development policies, renders them highly vulnerable. Short-term coping mechanisms and strategies used to augment income are often maladaptive in the long-term
  • indigenous populations in the regions have tenuous livelihood structures. Loss of traditional practices, unproductive farming, market risks, unresponsive and obscure governance structures, and a depleting natural resource base are some of the risks that these communities face

Key findings from ASSAR's Regional Diagnostic Study and initial research: Bangalore sub-region, Karnataka

02 Dec 2016 11:02:25 GMT

The five-year (2014-2018) Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project uses insights from multi-scale, interdisciplinary work to inform and transform climate adaptation policy and practice in ways that promote the long-term wellbeing of the most vulnerable and those with the least agency.

Key insights:

  • in a dynamic sub-region such as Bangalore, we need a more nuanced understanding of the dimensions and differentiation of vulnerability in order for climate change adaptation policy and practice to better address the causes of this vulnerability
  • dynamic small subsets (“micro-hotspots”) exist within the larger semi-arid sub-regions. Within these micro-hotspots, an understanding of (a) both current and future climate variability, (b) non-climatic risks, and (c) their coupled influence, are topics that need attention and further exploration
  • inappropriate institutional regimes intensify existing inequity in accessing public services, natural resources, knowledge and power. A responsive governance framework is therefore imperative to meet local and sub-regional imbalances

Planning for climate change in the semi-arid regions of India

02 Dec 2016 10:54:43 GMT

Although slightly variable across study sites, the SARs of India have experienced accelerated warming trends between 1971 and 2007. Mean daily temperatures have increased marginally faster than the national average (0.02  oC/year).

Rainfall patterns for the same period have been highly variable across SARs of India, and the country in general. Across the ASSAR states, the average summer monsoon rainfall has decreased by 0.01-1.40 mm/year, and the monsoon onset and rainfall patterns have become more erratic.

Extreme weather events are expected to increase in most of India and some semi-arid regions are considered to be high vulnerability areas. The SARs are particularly prone to flash floods, and have witnessed a noticeable increase in hot days and heat waves between 1961-2010, lasting as long as 12–16 days in some areas.

Critical sectors (e.g., agriculture, forestry, water resources) will be affected as drought and flood hazards intensify the demand for land, food, water and livestock forage.

Heat-stress related impacts will be more severe for rural and urban communities as thresholds on livestock, crops and infrastructure will be reached sooner.

India faces rapid and unplanned urbanization, resulting in poor quality of urban life. Migrants are more vulnerable due to a lack of access to public services and limited livelihood options. Extreme weather exacerbates existing locational risks through urban flooding, heat stress and disease dynamics.

The way forward:

  • through rainfall variability, drought, and flood hazards, climate change presents many risks to human livelihoods and wellbeing in the semi-arid areas of India. These risks include: resource degradation and conflict, food insecurity, human health, and plant and animal diseases. However climate change is only one of the major stressors, and there are other global and regional drivers such as spread of introduced invasive species, unsustainable exploitation of ground-water, CO2 fertilization and nitrogen deposition that could have major impacts on semi-arid ecosystems in the future
  • in rural and urban India climate change necessitates a multi-institutional and multi-sectoral response. A spectrum of factors that includes market forces, emerging development dynamics, depleting natural resources and climate change leaves communities fractured and vulnerable
  • to enable effective adaptation, there has to be a recognition of, and response to, multiple governance regimes – including the need for governance to engage with relevant actors and institutions, links between planning and execution, engagements in both top-down and bottom-up planning, and the involvement of state, civil society, citizens and private sectors
  • the existing base of impact studies are limited in scope and restricted to the water sector and major agricultural crops. Additional research is needed to understand climatic impacts in addition to other global change drivers on these social ecological systems. Additionally, improved understanding of the northeast monsoon behaviour will have major policy implications, especially for southeastern India. Assessing climatic risks—and the corresponding climate impacts—at much finer scales is crucial

South Asia Regional Diagnostic Study

02 Dec 2016 10:46:11 GMT

India faces a dynamic climatic and non-climatic risk profile. These climatic and non-climatic risks, separately and in interaction, make people and systems highly vulnerable. Key vulnerabilities and risks are found to be deeply embedded within the existing social and biophysical conditions of people and socio-ecological systems, which emerge as critical barriers to effective, widespread and sustained adaptation.

ASSAR has recently completed its Regional Diagnostic Study phase which took stock of the current state of knowledge on the extant and emergent climatic and non-climatic risks in Africa and India. During this phase ASSAR explored why different people are differentially vulnerable to these risks and how people, governments and other stakeholders at various scales are responding to current and future climatic and non-climatic challenges.

Most current development-adaptation interventions in India and the sub-regions focus on water and agricultural sectors. Evidence from various adaptation projects suggests that risk management strategies at various scales and initiated by various actors, are enabling building of local adaptive capacities. However, such changes are not uniform across regions, sectors or scales. India’s rural systems have seen relatively higher and longer investment in direct climate change adaptation projects, as well as those that have adaptation co-benefits such as interventions for livelihood diversification, biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. Given large development deficits and the vulnerabilities of the rural poor, coping strategies to manage risk are more common than adaptive action.

Governance and institutional barriers emerge as a key constraint to ongoing and future adaptation. Governance in much of India is fragmented, making coordination across different agencies and scales challenging. Cities in particular accumulate and generate new risks through unplanned development and deepening inequality. Urban settlements are vulnerable to food, energy and water fragility and consequent social and political unrest. Planning, including for risk management, often takes place at higher levels of government, while the role of local bodies, civil society and communities tends to be that of implementation with little room for innovation. The ways in which governance acts as a key barrier to adaptation are a) multiplicity and redundancy of actors and institutions, b) fragmentation of planning and execution, c) prevalence of top-down planning, d) institutional rigidity and path dependency and e) absence of certain actors and sectors in the planning process such as private sector participation and health.

Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Semi-Arid Regions of India

02 Dec 2016 10:39:36 GMT

India and the sub-regions face a dynamic climatic and non-climatic risk profile. These climatic and non-climatic risks, separately and in interaction, make people and systems highly vulnerable. Key vulnerabilities and risks are found to be deeply embedded within the existing social and biophysical conditions of people and socio-ecological systems, which emerge as a critical barrier to effective, widespread and sustained adaptation.

The welfare cost of climate change impacts in India varies across geography and sectors. Given the natural resource-based livelihoods, high incidence of poverty and inherent socio-economic inequities, a significant section of the rural population is resource-constrained to adapt to the current and projected future climate variability. While households dependent on agriculture are affected directly, those living in urban areas are also affected by declining agricultural productivity and ongoing agrarian crisis in semi-arid areas. The situation is compounded by rapid and unplanned urbanisation, resulting in an intense competition for resources and land. The quality of life for the urban poor is characterised by the lack of access to social capital, poor quality of employment and exclusion from public services; in turn making the inhabitants highly vulnerable to social and environmental risk.

Critical sectors in the sub-region (agriculture, forests, water) are affected significantly by the changing climatic regime. Available evidence on the changing climatic regime in India and the sub-regions underscores the emergent climatic dimensions of risks that the sub-regions are exposed to.

The Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project aims to develop a nuanced understanding of climate vulnerability and adaptation in semi-arid regions (SARs), as well as implementable plans to transform current adaptation processes in a way that makes them proactive, and widespread. This research project is being implemented in regions of Africa and India.

Three major developmental transformation (‘transformative adaptation’) options exist in India: 1) increase productivity of existing biophysical and socio-economic systems, 2) create new sustainable livelihood forms and/or, 3) shift population from fragile ecosystems. It is pertinent to highlight that whichover option is embraced, it should be able to sustain existing ecosystems to some extent, respect embedded socio-cultural dynamics, innovate around redundant and archaic governance and institutional structures, and respond to emergent climate-induced risks (such as changing precipitation and temperature patterns).

This report thus summarises key findings from the Regional Diagnostic Studies (RDS) for South Asia. It discusses the socio-economic and biophysical context in India and the sub-regions (Chapter 2) and identifies major gaps in the existing literature in areas of climate science, vulnerability and adaptation in (Chapters 3, 4 and 5 respectively). It also draws on key informant interviews (KIIs) with multiple stakeholders to enrich our understanding of research gaps and key dialogues in the climate adaptation discourse (Annexe 1.2). By doing so, it will inform forthcoming research in the Regional Research Programme (RRP) phase.

Water, Megacities and global change: portraits of 15 emblematic cities of the world

02 Dec 2016 10:22:32 GMT

Numerous studies have explored urban growth and the emergence of the megapolitan phenomenon through increasing growth in the number of cities with over 10 million inhabitants. Similarly, the processes of climate change are also the subject of study from various perspectives as part of more operational approaches or research. Rather, the objective here is to highlight the impacts of those global changes (urban growth and climate) on megacities, their resources, and their water and sanitation services. What emerges is a singular vulnerability: megacities concentrate populations, services and goods. This amplifies the consequences of water-related risks (e.g. largescale floods, lack of resources, environmental pollution and other challenges).

This overview of 15 emblematic cities calls for general mobilisation to devise the sustainable urban policies the world needs. All these urban centres share a number of common characteristics: expansive size, disparities between rich and poor districts, environmental and industrial demand that strains the natural resources of an entire region – not to mention the economic weight of the country as a whole – and a wide range of cultural, scientific and educational resources.

Cities included:

  • Beijing
  • Buenos Aires
  • Chicago
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Istanbul, Lagos
  • London
  • Los Angeles
  • Manila
  • Mexico City
  • Mumbai
  • New York
  • Paris
  • Seoul
  • Tokyo

Averting ‘New Variant Famine’ in Southern Africa: building food-secure rural livelihoods with AIDS-affected young people

02 Dec 2016 04:51:34 GMT

Southern Africa is experiencing the world’s highest HIV prevalence rates alongside recurrent food crises. This has prompted scholars to hypothesise a 'New Variant Famine' in which inability to access food is driven by the effects of AIDS. In line with this, it has been suggested that the impacts of AIDS on young people today is likely to diminish their prospects of food security in adult life. In particular, children whose parents die of AIDS may fail to inherit land or other productive assets, and transmission of knowledge and skills between the generations may be disrupted, leaving young people ill-prepared to build food-secure livelihoods for themselves. However, prior to this research, those propositions were largely untested.

The ‘Averting New Variant Famine’ research project was therefore undertaken to generate new, in-depth understanding of how AIDS, in interaction with other factors, is impacting on the livelihood activities, opportunities and choices of young people in rural southern Africa.

The research was conducted in two villages in Malawi and Lesotho, two of the worst affected countries. The fieldwork comprised four elements:

  • community and household profiling to provide a contextual understanding of livelihood responses to sickness and death, and in particular how young people are incorporated in livelihood strategies
  • participatory research with more than thirty 10-24-year-olds in each community (around half of whom were affected by AIDS) to explore their aspirations, means of accessing livelihood opportunities, obstacles faced and decision-making processes
  • semi-structured interviews with policy makers and other key informants to explore the linkages with macro-level policies and processes
  • life history interviews with more than twenty 18-24 year olds in each village to explore the factors shaping their lifecourses and livelihoods

There are a number of policy recommendations arising from the research:

  • focusing on increasing school attendance (which has hitherto been the main response to the impacts of AIDS on young people) is an inadequate response. Education needs to be much more relevant to the livelihood options available to the majority of rural youth
  • rural young people would benefit particularly from opportunities for vocational skills training, but also business education and the identification of opportunities that rely not only on the local market, if they are to engage successfully in rural enterprise
  • although fertiliser subsidies, food aid and food for work programmes are aimed principally at securing immediate subsistence rather than buildingassets for the future, they can free young people’s time and energy to devote to activities with secure long term prospects
  • equally, cash transfers, including those directed at elderly people, can help young people do business and find employment by putting more cash into local circulation
  • significantly, however, the project findings do not support the targeting of interventions specifically at AIDS-affected young people

Adaptation to climate change in Bangladesh

01 Dec 2016 12:20:47 GMT

Climate change is expected to disproportionately affect agriculture; however, there is limited information on smallholder farmers ‘ overall vulnerability and adaptation needs. This paper estimates the impact of climatic shocks on the household agricultural income and subsequently, on farmers ‘ adaptation strategies. Relying on data from a survey conducted in several communities in Bangladesh in 2011 and based on an IV probit approach, the results show that a one percentage point climate induced decline in agricultural income pushes households to adapt by almost 3 percentage points.

However, certain strategies are too costly and cannot be afforded in bad times. For those strategies, we provide evidence of barriers that constrain the development and deployment of adaptive measures, noticeably access to electricity and wealth.

Agriculture and adaptation to climate change: the role of wildlife ranching in South Africa

01 Dec 2016 11:45:35 GMT

In the arid and semi-arid areas of Africa, some of the most common land uses remain in pastoralism or in some cases commercial livestock ranching. Agricultural activities in these areas especially beef production is known to be highly vulnerable to the severe e¤ects of climate change. However, a major limitation is that appropriate adaptation and mitigation options are few. Therefore, both commercial farmers and communities faced with climate related challenges can only use temporary coping mechanisms or financial solutions to mitigate adverse effects of climate change.

This paper explores the role of wildlife in adaptation to climate change in areas predominantly used for livestock production in South Africa. Using a sample of 1071 wildlife and livestock farms the authors estimate a multinomial choice model of various adaptation options including livestock
and wildlife farming choices. The results indicate that mixed livestock-wildlife farms are less vulnerable to climate change when compared to specialised livestock or wildlife farms.
However, net farm revenues per hactare are higher for specialised wildlife ranches when compared to mixed wildlife-livestock ranches or livestock ranches. The results further show that temperature increase will influence most livestock farmers to change land use to wildlife ranching. At farm level, land size and social networks are also likely to play a bigger role in land use change as climate changes. Using climate models, the paper establishes that livestock farmers in Eastern Cape
Province of South Africa will be most affected by climate change and will subsequently change land use.

The importance of reducing animal product consumption and wasted food in mitigating catastrophic climate change

01 Dec 2016 11:31:58 GMT

Globally about 30 percent of the food supply is never eaten. If all the world’s food losses and waste (wasted food) were represented as a country, it would be the third highest GHG emitter, after China and the United States. Additionally, food decomposing in landfills generates significant quantities of methane. Animal products are wasted at relatively low rates (13 percent of global food waste by volume) compared to other foods, but due to their high emissions intensity, account for roughly one‐third of GHG emissions associated with food waste.

This report, prepared in advance of the United Nations Conference of the Parties 21 (COP21) in Paris, reviews the scientific literature on the roles of reducing animal product consumption and wasted food in meeting climate change mitigation targets.

Key findings:

  • if global trends in meat and dairy intake continue, global mean temperature rise will more than likely exceed 2° C, even with dramatic emissions reductions across non‐agricultural sectors
  • immediate and substantial reductions in wasted food and meat and dairy intake, particularly ruminant meat (e.g., beef and lamb), are imperative to mitigating catastrophic climate change
  • the urgency of these interventions is not represented in negotiations for climate change mitigation

The impacts of the Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ALRMPII) on livelihoods and vulnerability in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya

01 Dec 2016 10:55:49 GMT

There is an urgent need for new approaches and effective models for managing risk and promoting sustainable development in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), especially in the face of climate change and increasing frequency of drought in many areas.

This study assesses the impacts of the Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ALRMPII), a community-based drought management initiative implemented in 28 arid and semi-arid districts in Kenya from 2003 to 2010. The project sought to improve the effectiveness of emergency drought response while at the same time reducing vulnerability, empowering local communities, and raising the profile of ASALs in national policies and institutions.

Some more general recommendations based on the findings of this evaluation and on the mlessons learned in undertaking it are:

ALRMPII appears to have played an important coordination role in the districts. The project may want to consider making this an explicit objective in the future, and include a Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to measure the impact. Similarly, the main indicator of community-level impact was service provision, however if the objective of participation in community-level projects—whether for infrastructure, service provision, natural resource management, or income-generation—also includes building capacity and demonstrating alternative models of working with communities, then an alternative specification of the indicator that captures changes in community capacity and empowerment would be appropriate.

There were no KPIs around environmental impacts in ALRMPII, however there are several reasons why it might be useful to put more effort into documenting these in the future. First, changes in the quality and availability of natural resources could be important causal mechanisms through which project interventions impact on poverty and vulnerability. Second, environmental indicators would also be a necessary part of understanding the impacts of climate change and the potential impacts of interventions around adaptation or mitigation, issues which are likely to be important in the ASAL regions in the future.

In terms of evaluation methodology, the project had substantial baseline data available which facilitated the evaluation, however there are several ways in which the evaluation framework could be strengthened. More attention to specifying impact pathways would improve understanding of the causal mechanisms by which project interventions may have influenced observed outcomes. In addition, the ability to attribute observed changes to project activities would be improved through the development of a clear framework for site selection and classification that can guide project implementation as well as evaluation.

Institutional assessment of adaptation to climate change in the middle Kaiti watershed, Makueni county, Kenya

01 Dec 2016 10:31:36 GMT

In the research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is working to enhance local institutional capacity for supporting climate change adaptation. One way in which it is doing this is by working with local communities and other partners and stakeholders to assess those aspects of their institutional environment most relevant to the change and adaptation issues that they are facing.

The ILRI institutional assessment work has focused on institutional and governance issues affecting the adaptation of farmers and pastoralists to climate change, with a particular emphasis on governance at the landscape level. One of the sites where the methodological framework for institutional assessments has been applied was in the vicinity of Iuani in Makueni county, Kenya. This report presents the findings at that assessment.

Climate change, household vulnerability and smart agricukture: the case of two South African provinces

01 Dec 2016 04:33:41 GMT

The impact of climate change disasters poses significant challenges for South Africa especially for vulnerable rural households. In South Africa there is dearth of knowledge of the impacts of climate change at the local level, especially in rural areas. Rural households are generally poor and lack resources to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change associated disasters. The extent of vulnerability of rural households to climate change related disasters is largely not understood. A thorough and systematic examination of household vulnerability to climate change in rural areas is necessary and urgent. To minimise the impacts of climate change, there are several alternative adaptation strategies. The adaptation strategies require scientific scrutiny to establish which strategies are more cost effective and with the greatest positive impact on people’s livelihoods.The purpose of this project was to assess the micro level impacts of climate change, evaluate household vulnerability and evaluate alternative rural adaptation strategies. To evaluate the impact of climate change the DSSAT models were used to simulate the impacts of climate change scenarios on maize yields. On household vulnerability, the household vulnerability index (HVI) tools was used to identify vulnerable households, so as to provide the basis for strategic interventions as well as recommending a potential suite of fiscal and economic measures to be used to improve the resilience of communities to climate change. The cost benefits analysis was the main technique used to evaluate alternative adaptation strategies. The study focused on the Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces: provinces that have been singled out as the most vulnerable to disasters.The cost benefit results suggest households need to move towards the use of drought resistant crop varieties and conservation farming. Priority should be given to drought resistant varieties, small grains, and zero tillage farming systems both in Limpopo and Eastern Cape. Practicing climate smart agriculture should be prioritised.The following recommendations are proposed:government should consider developing a household vulnerability index that will isolate households that are vulnerable to climate change and ensure that such households are well targeted. Any fiscal and financial interventions to alleviate the impact from climate change should take into account the differential vulnerabilities of rural communities and aim to support their autonomous adaptation responses. In this regard, it is recommended that the scope of the CASP grant is broadened to include mechanisms that will improve the resilience and adaptation of households that are vulnerable to climate changethe department of agriculture should support the development of a sustainable and resilient multi-purpose production system in rural areas, especially mechanisms that improve the asset base of rural households such as providing support towards strengthening livestock production; training for pasture-land management, disease control and crop-livestock husbandry and support strategies increase access to inputs, markets and financial resources, improved agricultural extension services and access to climate and weather forecast information. In addition, there is a need to promote multi-purpose crop production, small grains (Sorghum and millet), and drought and water stress tolerant crop varieties, improved agronomic practices (in-field water harvesting, and application of appropriate fertiliser amounts, proper timing of sowing dates, conservation agriculture, etc.)the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries needs to strengthen the extension service and capacita[...]

Research note: Impact of climate change on livestock production in Zimbabwe

01 Dec 2016 04:04:48 GMT

Climate change in Zimbabwe has been characterised by rising mean maximum temperature,  decreasing mean annual rainfall, changes in the agricultural calendar, unpredictable weather patterns and lengthened periods of mid-season droughts. A desktop review was conducted to determine the state of the Zimbabwe livestock industry’s capacity to deal with climate change by exploring possible scenarios, studying trends in the weather patterns and how various livestock
species are likely to fare.

The biggest threats to livestock production will be the shortage of land for pastures, competition for cereals with humans, prospects of drought, spread of vector- and tick-borne diseases, rise in temperatures above normal physiological levels and destructive veld fires. The livestock industry appears unprepared to deal with these threats due to several reasons including lack of qualified research and extension personnel, no investment in new infrastructure, no new genetics for crops and livestock, poor access to the latest technology and shortage of research funds. Despite the existence of several research stations in the country, not much research to mitigate the effects of climate change is going on. It is concluded that all livestock
species were affected by climate change hence there will be fewer animals on the farms and a decrease in productivity and profitability.

Climate change impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa: from physical changes to their social repercussions

01 Dec 2016 03:47:06 GMT

The repercussions of climate change will be felt in various ways throughout both natural and human systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change projections for this region point to a warming trend, particularly in the inland subtropics; frequent occurrence of extreme heat
events; increasing aridity; and changes in rainfall—with a particularly pronounced decline in southern Africa and an increase in East Africa. The region could also experience as much as one meter of sea-level rise by the end of this century under a 4 C warming scenario. Sub-Saharan
Africa’s already high rates of undernutrition and infectious disease can be expected to increase compared to a scenario without climate change. Particularly vulnerable to these climatic changes are the rainfed agricultural systems on which the livelihoods of a large proportion of the region’s population currently depend. As agricultural livelihoods become more precarious, the rate of rural–urban migration may be expected to grow, adding to the already significant urbanization trend in the region. The movement of people into informal settlements may expose them to a variety of risks different but no less serious than those faced in their place of origin, including outbreaks of infectious disease, flash flooding and food price increases. Impacts across sectors are likely to amplify the overall effect but remain little understood.

Post-Paris: taking forward the Global Climate Change Deal

01 Dec 2016 03:30:08 GMT

The Paris Agreement, reached at COP21, was a triumph of diplomacy. The deal can be characterized as: flexible, combining a ‘hard’ legal shell and a ‘soft’ enforcement mechanism; inclusive, as it was adopted by all 196 parties to the UNFCCC and is therefore the first truly global climate deal; messy, as the bottom-up process of creating nationally determined contributions means the system is unstandardized; non-additive, as the contributions do not currently deliver the agreement’s stated long-term goal of keeping the rise in global average temperature to ‘well below 2˚C’; and dynamic, as the deal establishes a ratchet mechanism that requires more ambitious contributions every five years.

The next five years are critical for keeping the below 2˚C goal within reach. A ‘facilitative dialogue’ starting in 2018 will give states the opportunity to revisit their contributions in advance of the agreement entering into force n 2020. International forums, such as the G7 and G20, can play a crucial role in kickstartingthese efforts.

The ‘coalitions of the willing’ and clubs that were launched under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda provide an innovative space for state and non-state actors to unlock transformational change. However, it is important that these groups set specific and measurable targets
to ensure effective delivery of objectives.

The post-Paris regime implies a significant role for civil society organizations. However, in many countries the ‘safe operating space’ both for these organizations and for the media is shrinking. Expanding the capacity of civil society and the media in areas such as communications, litigation, project implementation and technical expertise will be important if they are to support the regime effectively.

A gender approach to understanding the differentiated impact of barriers to adaptation: responses to climate change in rural Ethiopia

01 Dec 2016 02:39:11 GMT

While adaptation has received a fair amount of attention in the climate change debate, barriers to adaptation are the focus of a more specific, recent discussion. In this discussion, such barriers are generally treated as having a uniform, negative impact on all actors. However, this paper argues that the precise nature and impact of such barriers on different actors has so far been largely overlooked.

This study of two drought-prone communities in rural Ethiopia sets out to examine how female- and male-headed households adapt to climate change, particularly focusing on how a variety of barriers influence the choice of adaptation measures to varying extents.

To this purpose, the authors built a conceptual framework based on the Sustainable Livelihood Approach. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with male- and female-headed households, community leaders and local extension workers.

Findings suggest that gender-based differences in the choice of adaptation measures at the household level are driven by cultural, social, financial and institutional barriers. Barriers to adaptation—particularly when interacting—have a differentiated impact upon different actors. This outcome hints at the need for donors and policymakers to develop intervention strategies that are sensitive to this fact.

Moving on towards a workable climate regime

01 Dec 2016 02:18:32 GMT

The Paris Agreement (PA) signed by 175 parties is now a Treaty since a quorum of signatories has been obtained. This Treaty is really the first important step taken to limit temperature increase, as pledges, if sustained and far more ambitious beyond 2030, would drastically limit the projected temperature increase from  projections in the absence of measures to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.

Contributions however fall short of the intentions to limit temperature increase to the +1.5° to +2° Celsius range since the onset of industrialisation.

Drawing on recent contributions, this paper reviews how things stand in tackling four challenges ahead: (i) taking fuller cognizance of the accumulating scientific evidence calling for urgent action; (ii) designing an architecture that will render effective the blend of ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ approaches; (iii) choosing policy options and tackling the slow transition to a low-carbon economy, and; (iv) raising finance and addressing burden sharing.



Displaced women and homelessness

30 Nov 2016 06:40:43 GMT

This report identifies conflicts as a cause of homelessness. Displaced persons, by definition, have to abandon their homes. Many of them have been forced to leave because of targeted discrimination.

NRC´s research shows that this is compounded by the repressive social norms women experience from their communities and families. Those who face discrimination because of their ethnicity, place of origin and gender, are more likely to become homeless and, oncehomeless, are exposed to more serious protection risks.

Women refugees in Lebanon and the consequences of limited legal status on their housing, land and property rights

30 Nov 2016 06:22:21 GMT

Understanding the situation for women refugees in particular, including the protection risks they face, is essential in order to develop and provide appropriate interventions taking their perspective and specific challenges into account.

The aim of this report is to highlight some of the consequences of limited legal status, with a specific focus on the coping mechanisms of refugees to try to maintain their housing each month and what impact such, often negative, coping mechanisms have on women in particular.

International law and sea-level rise: forced migration and human rights

30 Nov 2016 05:39:16 GMT

This report provides a general overview of the international law issues relating to sea-level rise, (forced) migration and human rights. The first part provides a brief accounting of 'What We Know and What We Can Expect', discussing sea-level rise and its impacts, and then, in turn, their relationship and interaction with the criteria of statehood, human rights and mobility. The second part features 'tools' with the potential to address the mobility and human rights implications associated with sea-level rise and its impacts. Part two initially explores interventions that would enable affected persons to remain in situ, before embarking on an examination of extant 'tools' pertinent to internal and cross-border movements, respectively. The final part presents the way forward, drawing out key areas and principles of international law with the capacity to lend clarity and content to States' obligations to address the challenges presented by sea-level rise.

The Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing: User-country measures and implementation in India

30 Nov 2016 05:22:23 GMT

User-measure requirements are the cornerstone of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization developed under the Convention on Biological Diversity. These have come about as the result of hard, persistent pressure from developing countries on developed countries to take co-responsibility in making the access and benefit sharing regime functional. The degree of national implementation of the user measure requirements will thus be an important indicator of the success of the Nagoya Protocol. This report reviews these requirements and the situations as regards national implementation so far. It reviews the  status and options for India in its implementation and notes some future challenges.

Climate change policy inventory and analysis for Tanzania

30 Nov 2016 04:51:33 GMT

This report is an output of the Global Framework for Climate Services Adaptation Programme in Africa. The goal of the report is to: 1) assess the extent to which climate change concerns have been integrated or mainstreamed into national policy documents in mainland Tanzania, 2) to consider the role of climate services in achieving national sectorial policy goals, and 3) identify entry points for the further development of climate services within the current policy frameworks. Fifteen key policy documents relevant to economic development, climate change and environment, agriculture and food security, disaster management and risk reduction, and health planning were analysed. Three major findings emerged from this analysis. First, while climate change is addressed in a number of the policy documents, the concept of climate services was not. Second, policy documents across all sectors identified improved early warning systems as a specific objective. This represents a common entry point for development and delivery of climate services, as well as an opportunity to increase cross-sectorial adaptation coordination and planning. Third, the analysis highlighted that efforts to manage short- and long-term climate risks are not well integrated under current policies and legislation in Tanzania. Additionally, we found that the National Environmental Policy and National Environmental Management Act are the primary policy documents that oversee climate change-related issues. It will be important to link the development and delivery of climate services with the established institutional structures for climate change adaptation under these current policies and legislation, to avoid creating isolated or duplicative institutional arrangements. Based on these findings, several recommendations are made that can inform climate services development and delivery in Tanzania.

Estimating mobilized private climate finance for developing countries. A Norwegian pilot study

30 Nov 2016 04:42:05 GMT

The point of departure for this study is the available data in Norway on climate finance for developing countries. The bottleneck in tracking mobilized private climate finance is availability and quality of data. The main challenge is that Norwegian public institutions sourcing public support for climate finance have not yet implemented sufficient systems for measurement, reporting and verification of mobilized private climate finance. In addition, climate finance tracking is constrained by methodological difficulties and lacking international standard definitions and methods. Despite these limitations, we have estimated that Norwegian public climate finance support to developing countries via bilateral and multi-bilateral support amounted to 1,019 MUSD in 2014, split into bilateral flows at 578 MUSD and multi-bilateral flows at 441 MUSD. The main public institutions sourcing this money, ranked according to the size of their money flows, are: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) - embassies, Norad, MFA, KLD, and Norfund. We examined public support for projects summing up to 692 MUSD, which we could link to an estimated 202 MUSD of mobilized private co-finance. Based on our analysis, Norfund is the primary institution that has mobilized private climate finance. These climate finance flows are likely to be low estimates. In addition, Norway provided another 123 MUSD as climate-related core support to multilateral organizations. Although a number of uncertainties are attached to the data, they cover the largest flows and most available project data. One learning from this process is not to aim for a “perfect” standardized and complete tracking system, but for an international tracking standard that is simple and transparent, and with built-in flexibility to handle different contexts in terms of actors and sources at international and national levels.

Green bonds and environmental integrity: insight from CICERO second opinions

30 Nov 2016 04:29:53 GMT

This policy note shares insights from CICERO's experience in producing over 60 second opinions. Insights on the environmental integrity of green bonds include: 1) Management that is aligned for climate risk can give greater confidence in a green bond, 2) Internal dialogue with environmental experts can benefit from issuing a green bond and obtaining a second opinion, and 3) Best practice is emerging for certain project types. Issuers are more often incorporating life cycle analysis to understand the full environmental impact of the projects they finance, e.g. in renewable energy projects, as well as of their corporate activities including supply chains and subcontractors. Sustainable buildings are more likely to include an energy efficiency target in addition to building certifications. Multilateral development banks and municipalities are more likely to include adaptation components in their green bonds. In some cases, environmental experts are gaining veto power in the project selection process. Regular reporting on green bond projects is becoming the norm, with increasing interest in working towards impact reporting.

Business as UNusual: the implications of fossil divestment and green bonds for financial flows, economic growth and energy market

30 Nov 2016 04:16:09 GMT

Green bonds and fossil divestment has emerged as a bottom-up approach to climate action within the business community. Recent pledges by large banks and institutional investors have reached levels that have the potential to contribute markedly to a low carbon transition. This paper traces the impact of green finance in a multiregional global general equilibrium model with non-fossil and non-coal segments of financial flows in addition to the usual unconstrained market for funding. Our high green finance scenario reflects a reasonable upscaling of current level of pledges towards 2030. The study shows that green finance shifts the investments towards industries generating more value added and increasing GDP, future savings and investments. The green finance leads to a lower return on investments and a transfer of income from investors to wage income. Russia and China see the largest cost increase in coal investments due to constraints on finance for fossil industries. The green finance reduces coal consumption by 2.5 per cent below BAU in 2030 and raises the share of non-fossil electricity from 42 to 46 per cent at the global level. Over the whole period towards 2030, the green finance avoids global CO2 emissions corresponding to the total emissions of European Union and Japan in a recent year.

West Africa Regional Diagnostic Study: report summary

29 Nov 2016 11:51:32 GMT

Home to hundreds of millions of people, the semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia are particularly vulnerable to climate-related impacts and risks. Working in 11 countries in these regions, ASSAR is a research project that seeks to understand the factors that have prevented climate change adaptation from being more widespread and successful. At the same time ASSAR is investigating the processes - particularly in governance - that can facilitate a shift from ad-hoc adaptation to large-scale adaptation.

ASSAR is especially interested in understanding people's vulnerability, both in relation to climatic impacts that are becoming more severe, and to general development challenges. Through participatory work from 2014-2018, ASSAR aims to meet the needs of government and practitioner stakeholders, to help shape more effective policy frameworks, and to develop more lasting adaptation responses.

ASSAR has recently completed its Regional Diagnostic Study phase which took stock of the current state of knowledge on the extant and emergent climatic and non-climatic risks in Africa and India. During this phase ASSAR explored why different people are differentially vulnerable to these risks and how people, governments and other stakeholders at various scales are responding to current and future climatic and non-climatic challenges.


Important barriers to adaptation comprise development, gender, and governance dimensions. Among the key development barriers are: lack of integrated water resource planning, extensification of agriculture onto drought prone soils, reduced access to pastoral corridors, increased encroachment of farming onto rangelands, and under investment in dryland areas. Among the key gender barriers are: traditional gender norms that manifest in unequal access to resources and decision-making processes, limited livelihood and technologic options for women, predominance of male migration that leave women, children, elderly and disabled dependents vulnerable to shocks, particularly where remittance flows are weak or nonexistent. Among the key governance barriers are: incomplete government decentralization, top-down policy interventions for managing natural resources that lack local incentives and lock local communities out of resource access, and lack of coordination within national-level institutions and across national to district scales.

Important enablers of adaptation also comprise development, gender, and governance dimensions. Among the key development enablers are: research agendas that increasingly emphasize participatory processes for knowledge co-generation, greater prominence of appropriate technologies for soil and water conservation and natural resource management, and increasing efforts to better channel weather information to local communities. Among the key gender enablers are that adaptation provides an entry point for better addressing the needs of differentially vulnerable groups. Among the key governance enablers are: a significant increase in national policy development around climate change, leadership that is emerging in key ministries, and increasing evidence of mainstreaming of climate into different sectoral policies and strategies

Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the semi-arid regions of West Africa

29 Nov 2016 11:46:12 GMT

The West Africa region spans humid, sub-humid, semi-arid and arid climate regimes. It is currently home to over 340 million people, and constitutes 39% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population. The regional population is expected to exceed 400 million by 2020 and 500 million between 2030 and 2035.

This report, which encompasses the findings of a Regional Diagnostic Study (RDS) for West Africa, was undertaken in 2014-15 to advance understanding of climate change in semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia. The RDS represents the first phase of a research effort under the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project. ASSAR is one of four consortia generating new knowledge of climate change hotspots under the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA).

The RDS provides a foundation for developing an integrated regional research program (RRP) on climate change vulnerability and adaptation centered around advancing knowledge on socio-economic and biophysical systems, governance and institutions, gender, and wellbeing. The RDS thus provides a broad regional-scale context into which the RRP can be designed to focus on achieving deeper understanding of the multi-faceted nature of vulnerability, adaptation enablers and adaptation barriers.

There are multiple target audiences for the findings generated through this RDS. They include academics and researchers, stakeholders from government, civil society, and the international donor community. The findings of this report will be used to inform a communication strategy that will allow for broader dissemination of key findings from this RDS.

Enhancing urban climate change resilience: seven entry points for action

29 Nov 2016 10:28:07 GMT

Most of the world’s population now lives in towns and cities that are disproportionately located along coasts and rivers, and therefore faces substantial risks posed by hydrometeorological shocks and stresses. Moreover, with rapid unplanned growth, urban areas in many cases retain high socioeconomic vulnerability, such as urban poverty, informal settlements, lack of municipal services, land tenure issues, etc., which are exacerbated by the exposure to climate-related shocks and stresses. This has given rise to a growing interest in the concept of urban climate change resilience (UCCR), which recognizes the complexity of rapid urbanization and uncertainties associated with climate change.

Many development agencies are working closely with their member countries and partners and have developed UCCR frameworks. These frameworks highlight that while technology and infrastructure are integral to enhancing UCCR, engaging with a wide range of issues (institutional, financial, spatial, and social) is equally essential. Meanwhile, development organizations and researchers are starting to look into practical areas of action to enhance UCCR.

Looking across a vast body of literature on urban resilience and examples of practice reveals seven entry points for action that, in contextually specific combinations, can strengthen UCCR:

  • generating, sharing, and regularly updating data, information, and knowledge
  • forward-looking urban planning tools, such as land use planning and development planning
  • development processes associated with urban infrastructure and services, including water and sanitation, energy, transport and telecommunications, ecosystems, built environment, and health and social services
  • individuals and institutions within city governments often know the city intimately, and building their capacity is critical for bringing UCCR to life
  • community development processes that allow capturing diverse perspectives of communities, especially the perspectives of the most vulnerable, are essential for enhancing UCCR
  • there are huge needs for and potential gains from involving the private sector in enhancing UCCR
  • catalyzing finance is key to the success of UCCR and includes finances available from different scales of governance

New developments in Social Investing by public pensions

29 Nov 2016 10:02:32 GMT

Social investing is the pursuit of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals through investment decisions. Public pension funds have been active in this arena since the 1970s, when many divested from apartheid South Africa. They have also aimed to achieve domestic goals, such as promoting union workers, economic development, and homeownership.

In the mid-2000s, the focus shifted to preventing terrorism and gun violence. This effort included “terror-free” investing in response to the Darfur genocide and to weapons proliferation in Iran. And, after mass shootings in Aurora, CO, and Newtown, CT, some public funds shed their holdings in gun manufacturers. Most recently, states have renewed the call to divest from Iran and have increasingly targeted fossil fuels to combat climate change.

This brief provides an update of social investing developments and assesses whether, in this changing environment, public funds should engage in this practice. This assessment addresses two questions:

  • can ESG-screened portfolios meet the same return/risk objectives as non-screened portfolios; and
  • are public plans the right vehicle for advancing ESG goals?

The discussion proceeds as follows. The first section explores trends in social investing and the U.S. Department of Labor’s guidance on this activity. The second section examines recent state divestment efforts. The third section analyzes the economics of social investing. The fourth section outlines the economic, political, and legal complications. The final section concludes that although social investing may be worthwhile for private investors, lower returns and fiduciary concerns make public pension funds unsuited for advancing ESG goals.

Barriers and enablers of Climate Change Adaptation in Semi-Arid Ghana

29 Nov 2016 05:08:24 GMT

This briefing note summarises the key findings from the Regional Diagnostic Study (RDS) recently conducted in Ghana, as part of the ASSAR project. The RDS aimed to:

  • develop a systematic understanding of existing knowledge of climate change trends, impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptation strategies
  • identify the key barriers and enablers of effective adaptation in semi-arid regions
  • identify gaps in research, policy and practice related to climate change adaptation
  • provide a foundation for developing an integrated regional research program (RRP) on climate change vulnerability and adaptation

The way forward:

  • the active participation of all social groups – especially women, youth and the disabled – at the local level will be crucial for establishing the appropriate adaptation needs within climate change policies, and for eliminating social inequalities in the adaptation process
  • already-existing adaptation strategies that have sustained semi-arid communities over the years should be the starting point for addressing climate change impacts at the local level
  • governance structures should be put in place to ensure the effective implementation of adaptation policies across scales and levels
  • given the climatic sensitivities of the region, adaptation strategies and climate change policies should be context specific and multi-scalar


Planning for climate change in the Dryland Areas of West Africa

29 Nov 2016 04:44:21 GMT

For the past 50 years temperatures across West Africa have been increasing, particularly in dryland areas. This warming trend is set to continue in the coming decades, with the number of very hot days each year projected to be 17-20 times greater than in preceding decades. Projections for changes in rainfall are much more uncertain, and more research needs to be undertaken to understand how rainfall may change in the future.

The challenges of meeting the increasing demands for land, food, water and forage for livestock will be made more difficult because of increasing frequency and intensity of drought and flood risks.

These climatic changes will compound the existing challenges stemming from a lack of integrated water resource planning and sustainable land management which has resulted in extensification of agriculture onto drought-prone lands, reduced access to pastoral corridors, increased encroachment of farming onto rangelands, and under-investment in dryland areas.

The way forward:

  • climate change exacerbates many risks to human livelihoods and wellbeing in the dryland areas of West Africa. These include risks associated with rainfall variability, drought, flood hazards that negatively impact on resource degradation, resource conflict, food insecurity, human health, and plant and animal diseases
  • in order to address these risks, climate change information needs to be better understood by decision makers and appropriately integrated into national and sectoral policies and plans. Greater integration of climate information would help to support more responsive mechanisms, prioritization of financial resources, and strengthening of institutional capacities to effectively implement adaptation frameworks
  • a multi-sectoral approach to addressing climate risks is recommended. Governments are encouraged to engage across institutional levels and with the private sector to innovatively address climate risks and promote climate finance mechanisms
  • better integration of adaptation planning into development priorities coupled with resources for implementing adaptation practices can help to support local communities to adapt to the current and future effects of climate change in dryland areas. The needs of the most vulnerable members of society should be identified and prioritised

Climate change will result in thresholds being reached sooner, and heat-stress related impacts on livestock, crops, buildings and infrastructure will be more severe.

Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement Activity II in Ghana: Climate change mitigation co-benefits from sustainable intensification of maize, soybean, and rice

29 Nov 2016 04:36:16 GMT

ADVANCE II is a 4.5-year activity funded by USAID under its Feed the Future (FTF) initiative and is implemented by ACDI/VOCA in the Upper East, Upper West, and Northern Regions of Ghana. Begun in 2014, the goal of the activity is to scale up private sector investment in the maize, rice, and soybean value chains to achieve greater food security among the rural population in northern Ghana while increasing competitiveness in domestic commodity markets.

ADVANCE II focuses on three activity components: first, increasing the productivity of production systems, next, increasing access to markets and trade for smallholder farmers, and finally, strengthening and building local capacity.

Key messages:

  • An analysis of the potential climate change mitigation impact of the project entitled Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement Activity II (ADVANCE II) in Ghana shows that an approximate reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 100% will be possible. When project targets are achieved, ADVANCE II will transform the project area from a low net source of GHG emissions to roughly carbon neutrality
  • ADVANCE II is estimated to achieve moderate GHG mitigation benefits that are driven by soil management improvements (-9,223 tCO2e/yr), crop residue burning reductions (-4,249 tCO2e/yr), and alternate wetting and drying (AWD) of irrigated rice (-858 tCO2e/yr)
  • the moderate increase in fertilizer and pesticide use supported by the project leads to small increases in GHG emissions (1,244 tCO2e/yr and 2,514 tCO2e/yr respectively)
  • ADVANCE II provides important benefits for low emission development (LED) by significantly reducing the crop GHG emission intensity (GHG emissions per unit of production). This is achieved mainly through strong growth in agricultural productivity and reductions in postharvest losses


Resilience and economic growth in arid lands – accelerated growth in Kenya mitigation co-benefits of herd size and feed quality management

29 Nov 2016 03:35:27 GMT

REGAL-­AG, a 5-­year project implemented by ACDI/VOCA and funded under the Feed the Future (FTF) initiative, sought to increase economic growth in rural communities by improving competitiveness and inclusiveness in the livestock value chain. The project aimed to facilitate change in actors throughout the value chain, from livestock producers to middlemen, traders, transporters, and buyers, in order to increase incomes and stimulate growth. Begun in 2013, the project focused its efforts in Marsabit and Isiolo counties.

Key messages:

  • the agricultural development project Resilience and Economic Growth in Arid Lands – Accelerated Growth (REGAL-­AG) has promoted improved livestock management that resulted in a decrease in net emissions of 10%. Since emissions from livestock account for the majority of Kenya’s agricultural emissions (95%), reduction of emissions in the livestock sector has high potential impact
  • REGAL-­AG’s interventions have sought to improve links between livestock producers and buyers, to boost producer access to critical inputs, and to increase availability of timely market information, which resulted in a decrease in slaughter age for all livestock types. REGAL-­AG anticipated that these dynamics, coupled with the program outreach activities, could result in a 10% decrease in herd size, which drives the greater share of emission reductions
  • increases in productivity (50–67%) and decreases in absolute emissions (-­10%) that resulted from REGAL-­AG’s interventions decreased the emission intensity 33-­40% (emissions per unit production) for all livestock types

The economic advantage: assessing the value of climate change actions in agriculture

29 Nov 2016 03:23:25 GMT

Agriculture is a sector especially sensitive to climate change. It also accounts for significant emissions and is, therefore, a priority for both adaptation and mitigation plans and actions at global, national and local levels.

This brief summarises an International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) report: The Economic Advantage: assessing the value of climate-change actions in agriculture. The report informs readers who seek to build economic evidence in support of the inclusion of actions on agriculture in climate change plans and programs, particularly at the national level, for example the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and related policy instruments.

Key messages:

  • the majority of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement express intentions for actions on climate in the agriculture sector, but economic assessment is weakly developed to date
  • credible economic and financial proposals are needed to unleash large-scale public and private investment in agriculture under climate change
  • globally there is a strong economic case to invest in agriculture for future food security and rural livelihoods under climate change
  • at the farm level, positive economic returns can be demonstrated for practices that build adaptive capacity and reduce emissions intensity across several of the priority sub-sectors highlighted in the NDCs
  • policy development, capacity-building, institutional strengthening, services to provide finance, information, extension and research, and programme management are important investments that support climate actions in agriculture, but are difficult to quantify and value
  • the ingredients of a strong economic assessment for NDCs and other climate change plans for agriculture include: policy mainstreaming, iterative planning, a balance of project-level and farm-level assessment of costs and benefits, understanding of how costs and benefits are distributed, and appraisal of drivers of behavioural change, economic incentives and the enabling environment for farmers and other private-sector actors

Fertilizers and low emission development in sub-Saharan Africa

29 Nov 2016 03:09:51 GMT

Many countries in Africa included fertilizer use, soil fertility management, and agricultural inputs as part of their contributions to the Paris Climate Agreement. While nitrogen (N) fertilizers contribute substantially to nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions globally, emissions from fertilizers are still low in sub-Saharan Africa. Projections of future food needs in Africa point to the need for substantial increases in nutrient inputs on cropland. An opportunity exists in Africa to meet those future food security needs while using N fertilizers efficiently.

Since African countries will now be preparing to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and further fleshing out their low emission development strategies, it is an opportune time to reflect on the role of fertilizers and soil fertility management in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in a holistic manner.

This policy brief outlines the main issues to consider as countries develop their own specific agriculture and soil fertility management strategies with a view towards supporting food security, adapting to climate change and limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) missions.

Key messages:

  • greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer usage in sub-Saharan Africa are currently low due to low application rates of nitrogen fertilizer
  • as African countries begin to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement, there is an opportunity to improve crop productivity to meet future food needs while continuing to use N fertilizers—both organic and inorganic—efficiently
  • efficient use of N fertilizers requires combining balanced and appropriate nutrient inputs with good agronomic practices, such as the use of improved, high-yielding varieties that are adapted to local conditions and needs, application and recycling of available organic matter, water harvesting and irrigation under drought stress conditions, and lime application on soils with acidity-related problems
  • policies for soil fertility management in the context of climate goals may consider the need to:
  • improve the availability, access and affordability of organic and inorganic
    nutrient inputs, along with other key inputs such as high-yielding varieties
  • build capacity in adaptive nutrient management and agronomic best practices that support crop productivity
  • ensure equitable access to inputs, particularly for women and vulnerable groups



Climate change adaptation in agriculture and natural resource management in Tanzania: a gender policy review

29 Nov 2016 02:33:51 GMT

More than twenty years have passed since the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, where gender mainstreaming was acknowledged as an indispensable global strategy for achieving gender equality. Since then, Tanzania has undoubtedly made efforts in mainstreaming gender in its national policies and strategies.

This Info Note examines the state of gender responsiveness of fourteen agriculture, climate change and natural resource management policy documents and strategy plans in Tanzania. The desk-review focuses on mainland Tanzania, acknowledging that the Zanzibar Archipelago is governed, in some cases, by independent regulations.

Key messages:

  • the inclusion of gender considerations in agriculture and natural resource management policies is of paramount importance if Tanzania is to create sustainable, inclusive and gender-sensitive interventions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. However, the disharmony existing between the different policies and sectors suggests the need for a planning framework that harmonizes and coordinates gender integration in policies and sectoral plans
  • the policy documents remain silent on the role that gender plays in the different sub-sectors and consequently the proposed actions and strategies also remain gender-blind. In addition, gender is equated to women’s issues in most of the documents, presenting a narrow approach to gender and leaving untapped the important role that men could have in closing the gender gap in agriculture and natural resource management
  • several of the reviewed documents relegate the achievement of these gender considerations to the NGO sector. There is need for an enhanced institutional arrangement and to mainstream gender throughout all sections of the policy documents for an improved performance
  • there is a mismatch between the identified gender constraints that the documents present and the suggested policy solutions, and a lack of clear strategies by which the gender goals present in the policies could be achieved
  • the proposed gender policy interventions do not yet have the potential to dramatically change or address current gender gaps. However, there are opportunities to redress the situation. First, three key national policies are under review (i.e. the National Environment Policy, the National Forest Policy and the Land Policy) and could sufficiently integrate gender. Second, planning for CSA offers a great opportunity to holistically integrate gender across implementation levels

Seizing the momentum: displacement on the global climate change agenda

28 Nov 2016 10:18:50 GMT

With global temperatures breaking new records and an average of at least 21.5 million people already being displaced each year by the impact and threat of climate-related hazards, it is time to ratchet up efforts to mitigate, adapt to and prepare for ever greater displacement risk.

This briefing paper summarises where the issues of displacement, migration and planned relocation stand in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreements, decisions and discourse, and highlights opportunities and challenges inherent in turning knowledge and commitments into concrete action for people already displaced and those at greatest risk of becoming so.

East Africa Regional Diagnostic Study

25 Nov 2016 12:42:19 GMT

Home to hundreds of millions of people, the semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia are particularly vulnerable to climate-related impacts and risks. Working in 11 countries in these regions, ASSAR is a research project that seeks to understand the factors that have prevented climate change adaptation from being more widespread and successful. At the same time ASSAR is investigating the processes - particularly in governance - that can facilitate a shift from ad-hoc adaptation to large-scale adaptation. ASSAR is especially interested in understanding people's vulnerability, both in relation to climatic impacts that are becoming more severe, and to general development challenges. Through participatory work from 2014-2018, ASSAR aims to meet the needs of government and practitioner stakeholders, to help shape more effective policy frameworks, and to develop more lasting adaptation responses.

ASSAR has recently completed its Regional Diagnostic Study phase which took stock of the current state of knowledge on the extant and emergent climatic and non-climatic risks in Africa and India. During this phase ASSAR explored why different people are differentially vulnerable to these risks and how people, governments and other stakeholders at various scales are responding to current and future climatic and non-climatic challenges

Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Semi-Arid Regions of East Africa

25 Nov 2016 12:37:58 GMT

The Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) Consortium seeks to deepen understanding of climate vulnerability and adaptation in semi-arid regions, and help transform current adaptation practice to a mode that achieves proactive, widespread adaptation embedded in development activities. The project works at multiple scales, but with a central focus on advancing adaptive livelihoods for vulnerable groups. As part of the ASSAR project, the East Africa team’s work concentrates especially on dryland zones of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

This report summarises key findings from the regional diagnostic study (RDS) of the ASSAR East Africa team, and identifies major gaps in the existing literature on areas of vulnerability and adaptation in East Africa. The discussion provides the foundation for detailed case study work planned for the major phase of research, the Regional Research Programme (RRP), as well as an underpinning guide to develop a dialogue on adaptation options.

The primary purpose of the report is to capture the current state of affairs and evaluate trajectories of change with respect to vulnerability, impacts and adaptation across semi-arid regions in East Africa, with a particular focus on Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. It also identifies gaps in knowledge, policy and practice with respect to climate change adaptation in the region. Therefore, the report can be useful for a wide variety of target audience working in the area of climate change adaptation in the region – including academics and researchers, stakeholders from government, economy and policy as well as climate change practitioners, I/NGOs, media, grassroots organisations, community groups and the wider public

Preparing for Transformative Scenario Planning (TSP) in Namibia

25 Nov 2016 12:30:00 GMT

Transformative Scenario Planning (TSP) is an approach that brings concerned stakeholders from different, often conflicting, perspectives together around pressing sets of problems to build stories that illustrate a range of potential futures that could come from taking different paths for dealing with those issues. By doing this, the involved stakeholders learn more about their present situation and about what dynamics in that situation are serving to help or hinder progress toward a more equitably beneficial future.

On 30th and 31st May 2016 a TSP training workshop was held at Heja Game Lodge near Windhoek. Before the training was convened, the Reos Partners team in consultation with the ASSAR team selected the topic to use as an example in the training.

The topic selected was: The future of food security in Namibia. This topic was selected in light of the current drought being experienced in the country and how this could impact Namibia’s food security.

Vulnerability and Risk Assessment in the Onesi constituency, Omusati region, Namibia: towards improving livelihood adaptation to climate change

25 Nov 2016 11:59:09 GMT

Semi-arid regions in Namibia are characterised by high rainfall variability, persistent droughts and floods, and extreme temperatures. In addition, there is weak governance and structural inequalities that exacerbate the vulnerability of communities.

In March 2016 ASSAR’s southern Africa researchers – from the University of Namibia and University of Cape Town – held a two-day Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (VRA) workshop in the Omusati Region, Namibia.
The workshop was attended by various government officials, Constituency Development Committee members, local community members, farmer associations, CBOs, NGOs and academics, collectively known as the VRA Knowledge Group (KG).

The VRA process aims to develop a common understanding among various stakeholders of the main hazards and issues affecting those living in a given socio-ecological landscape. This is done in order to design measures that reduce risk, enhance wellbeing and promote resilience to hazards in the landscape.

Oxfam's VRA methodology was applied over two days, in a series of four steps including:

  • an Initial Vulnerability Analysis (IVA)
  • an Impact Chain Analysis (ICA)
  • an Adaptive Capacity Analysis (ACA), and
  • alignment of findings with opportunities

Vulnerability and Risk Assessment in Botswana's Bobirwa sub-district: fostering people-centred adaptation to climate change

25 Nov 2016 11:46:46 GMT

The Vulnerability Risk Assessment (VRA) methodology aims at developing a common understanding among various stakeholders, including government officials, village committees and local communities, about the main hazards and issues affecting communities living in a given social-ecological landscape. These stakeholders constitute the Knowledge Group (KG). This engagement was done so as to design measures that reduce risk, enhance wellbeing and promote resilience to hazards in the landscape. There are the four following steps that make up the VRA methodology.

In November 2015, ASSAR’s (Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions) Southern Africa researchers from the University of Botswana (UB), University of Cape Town (UCT), University of Namibia (UNAM) and Oxfam, conducted a two-day Vulnerability Risk Assessment (VRA) in order to bring stakeholder groups closer to ASSAR’s work. Based on the findings, the aim was to reassess ASSAR’s priorities. The workshop was attended by various government officials, Village Development Committee (VDC) members, local community members, and representatives from farmer committees.

Climate change vulnerability and risk analysis in the Bobirwa sub-district, Botswana: towards improving livelihood adaptation to climate

25 Nov 2016 11:40:39 GMT

Semi-arid areas in Botswana are characterised by high rainfall variability, frequent droughts, low soil moisture and extreme events such as flash floods which normally combine with governance shortcomings and structural inequalities to exacerbate the vulnerability of communities.

In November 2015, ASSAR’s southern Africa researchers – from the University of Botswana, University of Cape Town, University of Namibia and Oxfam GB – conducted a two-day Vulnerability Risk Assessment (VRA) workshop in Bobirwa, Botswana.

The workshop was attended by various government officials, Village Development Committee members, local community members, and representatives from farmer committees, collectively known as the VRA Knowledge Group.

The VRA process aims to develop a common understanding among various stakeholders (government officials, village committees and local communities) of the main hazards and issues affecting those living in a given social-ecological landscape. This is done so as to design measures that reduce risk, enhance wellbeing and promote resilience to hazards in the landscape.

Mapping out stakeholder influence on the implementation of climate change adaptation in Namibia

25 Nov 2016 11:26:57 GMT

Climate change is increasingly recognised as a challenge to sustaining the livelihoods and wellbeing of the people in Namibia.

The Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project uses insights from multi-scale, interdisciplinary work to transform climate adaptation policy and practice in ways that promote the long-term wellbeing of the most vulnerable and those with the least agency.

In July 2015 ASSAR’s southern Africa researchers – from the University of Namibia, University of Cape Town and University of Botswana – held a half-day Stakeholder Influence Mapping workshop with national-level stakeholders in Windhoek.

The workshop was attended by representatives from the national government, NGOs and academia. The main aim of the workshop was to understand who and what influences implementation of climate change adaptation in North Central Namibia.

Eva Schiffer’s Net-Map Toolbox was used to:

  • understand which stakeholders are critical to the climate change adaptation (CCA) agenda in Namibia
  • understand the extent to which stakeholders do or don’t interact with one another
  • explore how different stakeholders influence CCA in their region and how they may contribute to strengthening ASSAR’s research process and getting ASSAR’s research findings integrated into policy and practice

Stakeholder and influence network mapping exercise with the government, development and research actors in Namibia

25 Nov 2016 11:17:08 GMT

This report summarises the outcomes of the Stakeholder and Influence Network Mapping exercise undertaken on the 23rd of July 2015 in Windhoek, Namibia.

This event brought together 11 national stakeholders from government (Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development, Namibia Energy Institute), NGOs (NNF, IRDNC) and Researcher/Academic institutions (SASSCAL, DRFN & UNAM).

The Adaptation at Scale in Semi Arid (ASSAR) a multi-institutional and multi-national study investigates the factors that restrict effective adaptation to climate change impacts in agriculture-dependent communities in north-central Namibia.

A multi-method approach including literature review, household surveys and semi-structured interviews is used to:

  • explore the drivers of vulnerabilities to floods and droughts
  • identify adaptation strategies; and
  • identify the barriers that impede successful adaptation

Understanding vulnerability and adaptation in semi-arid areas in Botswana

25 Nov 2016 11:10:54 GMT

Climate change is impacting and will continue to impact all sectors of the economy and society. In semi-arid areas there are opportunities to adapt to climate change but currently barriers exist to realize the full potential of these opportunities.

Semi-arid areas in Botswana are characterised by high rainfall variability, frequent droughts, low soil moisture and extreme events such as flash floods which normally combine with governance shortcomings and structural inequalities to exacerbate the vulnerability of communities.

In Botswana some of the key vulnerabilities in semi-arid areas include limited institutional capacity especially at the local scale, lack of markets to sell products, lack of overarching policy on climate change, fragmented and conflicting policies, conflicting government programmes and programmes that increase dependence, reduced availability of natural resources e.g. reduced distribution of mopane worms and rivers being dammed for domestic and industrial use in Gaborone, prevalence of Foot and Mouth Disease impacting livestock production, lack of parental care of the youth, lack of opportunities for the youth, and lack of incorporation of local practices into national policies. Within this myriad of vulnerabilities women, the elderly, youth and marginalised groups are often more vulnerable than other groups.

Some approaches that are being used to adapt to climate variability and change include:

  • ploughing and planting multiple times within a season after rainfall events.
  • soil and water conservation including water harvesting
  • diversification of livelihoods including harvesting mopane worms and basketry
  • diversification of crops and livestock and the use of drought resistant crop varieties and livestock breeds5 e.g. shifting from maize to sorghum and pearl millet
  • moving livestock to alternative grazing areas

Planning for climate change in the semi-arid regions of Southern Africa

25 Nov 2016 11:03:47 GMT

Semi-arid areas in Southern Africa are characterised by high rainfall variability, frequent droughts, low soil moisture and extreme events such as flash floods. These conditions provide the foundation of vulnerability of communities in these areas.

Such communities are generally dependent on primary production and natural resources, rely on rain-fed agriculture, have limited livelihood options and employment opportunities, depend on activities that are sensitive to the impacts of climate change, face high levels of poverty, are exposed to high levels of HIV/AIDS, have limited infrastructure and services, and are affected by limited institutional capacity and weak resource governance.

It is therefore essential to understand how to enhance the ability of communities, local organisations and governments in Southern Africa to adapt to climate change in a way that minimises vulnerability and promotes long-term resilience.

Key points:

  • The semi-arid regions of Southern Africa are a true climate change “hot-spot” – experiencing more extreme climate changes than surrounding areas
  • Over the next 50 years, and compared to the surrounding areas, these regions are expected to become hotter, with continued variation in rainfall and more flooding
  • Climate changes – including increased frequency and intensity of droughts and floods – are predicted to negatively impact food security, economic growth, infrastructure and human health

The way forward:

  • improve technical capacity at the national and sub-national levels, to develop a greater understanding of climate change and its effects, and to develop and implement appropriate responses and adaptation strategies to reduce the impacts of floods, low rainfall and high temperatures on people, crops, livestock, infrastructure and services
  • agricultural adaptation strategies may include: coordinating the timing of ploughing and crop planting events with rainfall events; using drought-resistant crop varieties and livestock breeds; shifting livestock to alternative grazing areas and; implementing soil and water conservation policies and practices
  • develop common goals and facilitate better integration of different policies and practice sectors
  • develop policies and programmes that accommodate and encourage new and diverse livelihood options and generate financial capital
  • build an improved and accessible evidence base of adaptation options, and their associated benefits, that provides tangible demonstrations of these benefits