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Agriculture and Climate Change in the UN climate negotiations

Policy Brief 43by Merylyn Hedger

Agriculture is both victim and villain in respect of climate change. Victim because most estimates indicate that climate change is likely to reduce agricultural productivity, production stability and incomes in some areas that already have high levels of food insecurity. Villain because agriculture is a key source for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Yet agriculture may also be part of the climate change solution: there is a considerable, albeit uncertain, technical potential for carbon storage in soils, particularly in developing countries.This briefing paper aims to

Unscramble the various issues around agriculture which have become conflated in the climate negotiations Outline what is formally being sought in negotiation texts under the Climate Convention (UNFCCC) and assess whether this is a useful route, and what other courses might be possible.
Agriculture and climate change – politics behind the policies

CAADP Policy Brief 13

Policy-makers are increasingly focusing on the linkages between agriculture and climate change. Since 2009 African Union members have committed to embracing climate change mitigation and adaptation as integral components of agricultural development. While a number of pilot initiatives are under way, we know little about what this kind of focus on climate change and agriculture will mean in practice. Realising the potentials of agricultural systems for adaption and mitigation is about more than technological choices and farming practices; it is also about politics and power.

This Brief draws on recent research by the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) which examines how the agenda for climate-smart agriculture is playing out in practice in Africa, and asks:

Who participates in national agriculture and climate change policy processes? Whose knowledge counts in defining climate-smart agriculture? On whose terms and in whose interests are particular approaches and technologies favoured?
Farmers’ Knowledge and Climate Change Adaptation: Insights from Policy Processes in Kenya & Namibia

Policy Brief 42by Andrew Newsham, Lars Otto Naess and Paul Guthiga

One major policy challenge for the agricultural sector is to make sure that lessons from farmers’ knowledge and experience are informing emerging climate change policy processes. This briefing paper reports on lessons from recent studies in two areas: first on seasonal forecasting and indigenous knowledge in Kenya, and second, agro-ecological knowledge and science in Namibia.Advocates of local knowledge playing a role in adaptation policy and practice need a clearer understanding of how policy processes really work, in order to be more effective in making it happen. Efforts to link local to national are subject to broader processes of global change. Two of these are particularly discussed: first, the prospect of accelerated and more dangerous climate impacts by the 2060s; and second, deagrarianisation (a long-term shift away from farming livelihoods in rural areas).

Agriculture and Climate Change in Kenya: Climate Chaos, Policy Dilemmas

Future Agricultures Working Paper 70Immaculate Maina, Andrew Newsham and Michael OkotiAugust 2013

This paper analyses emerging policy discussions on climate change and agriculture in Kenya. Kenya has been ahead of many other countries in developing a national climate change strategy, and agriculture is one of the key critical sectors of interest. However, there are concerns about whether policy goals may be achieved amidst the actors’ many and diverging interests. This paper sets out to map how these debates are starting to take place in practice, and poses the following questions: what are the arguments, who is promoting them, and what are the implications for Kenya’s agricultural sector?

A better understanding of the key actors, their interests and through what narratives actor-interests are mobilised is important because they will all have implications for the kinds of support farmers at the local level do or do not receive, and the extent to which their own interests are fore grounded or marginalised within the policy process. Ultimately, the policy response to climate change in the agricultural sector is one important factor which mediates local-level vulnerability. The paper examines key policy narratives and documents on climate change and agriculture, how (groups of ) key actors cluster in relation to the narratives, and how they are manifesting themselves in practice.

Climate Change and Agricultural Policy Processes in Ghana

FAC Working Paper 45by Daniel Bruce Sarpong and Nana Akua Anyidoho

This paper examines agriculture-climate change policy discussions in Ghana in the context of, on the one hand, increasing international interest and activity around climate change and agriculture, and on the other, concerns over whether climate policy and funding priorities are aligned to domestic development priorities. The paper poses the following questions: What are the contested areas and dividing lines in policy discussions and practices around climate change, which actors are supporting different viewpoints, and what traction do they have in the types of interventions that are being promoted?

Climate Change and Agricultural Policy Processes in Malawi

FAC Working Paper 46by Blessings Chinsinga, Michael Chasukwa and Lars Otto Naess

This paper explores climate change - agriculture debates in Malawi in view of the increasing interest and funding pledges for the agricultural sector in a changing climate. While there is increasing evidence of how climate change may affect Malawian agricultural systems, and a growing body of literature on possible response strategies, less is known about how priorities are made, by whom and with what outcomes. This matters because climate-related funding can be a major factor for how the agricultural sector develops, in Malawi as in other countries across Africa. This paper is the first of its kind to analyse policy discussions on climate change and agriculture in the country. The primary focus is the national level, but some of the implications of national debates at sub-national levels, and the questions they raise, are also discussed.

Governing REDD+: global framings versus practical evidence from the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project

Full title: Governing REDD+: global framings versus practical evidence from the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, Kenya

STEPS Centre Working Paper 55by Joanes Atela

This paper explores the governance and feasibility of globally-linked REDD+ projects in local African settings, focusing on the Kasigau project in Kenya, Africa’s first REDD+ project accredited under internationally accepted standards. The project is a commercial venture and during the last five years it has unfolded in a relatively vulnerable Kenyan setting. A policy process analysis, interactive fieldwork and document review has explored its interrelationship with local livelihood assets and state institutional capabilities.

The paper reveals that while REDD+ institutions are globally standardised through negotiations interlocked with political and development interests, projects are faced with state and local resource histories and perceptions, and in responding to such settings, these projects become highly contextual. Locally, the Kasigau project links carbon benefits to specific and significant local vulnerabilities such as low ‘value’ dryland, water scarcity and illiteracy. This has yielded an apparently uncontested acceptance and favourable perception of the project among the Kasigau people, appearing to reverse long histories of exclusion from their resources by centralised state-based resource management regimes. Yet the negative perception of state institutions that the Kasigau people have built up over time raises questions as to whether the state can ably oversee a successful REDD+ process, as is assumed by the international community. If resource management is not factually decentralised in particular countries, greater capture of local resource rights in REDD+ could result from state regimes than from private-commercial regimes. As such, international gains in safeguarding local communities in REDD+ could be seriously compromised. Kenya recently initiated land reforms as part of resource decentralisation, but the resulting regimes remain fuzzy, subordinate to powerful centralised interests, focused on individual title, and inadequately adapted to particular local contexts. Such reforms potentially re-shuffle the local engagement of the Kasigau project which draws its apparent success partly from a communalised land tenure system.

This paper concludes that communal systems, if well-defined, may provide a better basis for the governance of REDD+ projects, enabling inclusivity, collective action and societal benefits. If projects can genuinely enable local people to manage and benefit from their forest resources, REDD+ promises to be a multi-governance programme that bridges the gap between global and local institutions and interests in the sustainable use of forests.

Making Sense of Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa

Full title: Making Sense of Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa: Creating Gender-Responsive Climate Adaptation Policy

Christine Okali and Lars Otto NaessMay 2013

Attention to gender and climate change has increased steadily over the last decade. Much of the emerging policy-focused literature resembles to a considerable degree the gender and environment literature from the 1990s, with the nature of women’s work being used to justify placing women at the centre of climate change policy. However, in contrast with the portrayal of women in earlier literature as knowledgeable guardians of the environment, the women at the centre of gender and climate change policy are typically portrayed as vulnerable, weak, poor, and socially isolated. Arguably, this is a reflection of the politics of gender rather than the reality of the men and women who regularly experience and deal with changes of various kinds.

We argue for a more realistic and nuanced framing of gender that is built on an acknowledgement of social complexity, and an understanding of social, including gender relations, in specific local settings. Such a framing would provide a more valuable starting point for understanding the way in which both women and men, together and separately in their different, and changing roles, shape the outcomes of external interventions. This shift does not mean that targeting vulnerable women to meet short term needs is not valuable. Rather, the intention is principally, to minimise the risks of policy failure resulting from the adoption of often erroneous but popular assumptions about the different roles that women and men play, and must continue to play, to achieve food security in the face of climate change.

Review of Research & Policies for Climate Change Adaptation in the Health Sector in Southern Africa

Working Paper 99 Mao A. Amis, Abdulai Jalloh and Sepo Hachigonta

The impact of climate change is being felt across the globe, including in Southern Africa, exemplified by increased incidence of extreme events such as flooding and prolonged drought. These changes, which are partly attributable to anthropogenic activities, will have major implications on human health, ecosystems and the economies of various countries and regions. In Southern Africa, most of the models project drier conditions as a result of increased warming. Extreme events are also projected to occur with greater incidence in some parts of the region, such as flooding in the Mozambican floodplains. The impact of climate change in the health sector in the region is projected to increase the disease burden by changing the transmission patterns of some diseases as habitat suitability for vectors changes. The incidence of food and water borne infectious diseases is also projected to increase.

This synthesis report was conducted in order to advance our understanding of progress in responding to the threat of climate change in the Southern African region, through a review of policy development and implementation, and our understanding of the linkages between climate change and health. Within the region, particular focus was on South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Review of research and policies for climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector in W Africa

Future Agricultures Working Paper 90 Edward R. Rhodes, Abdulai Jalloh and Aliou Diouf May 2014

The agricultural sector in Africa is very vulnerable to climate change and there is need for strong support to research on adaptation to climate change. A desk study on the synthesis of research and policy on climate change in the agricultural sector in West Africa was undertaken as part of the activities of a platform for exchange between researchers and policymakers for adaptation to climate change (AfricaInteract), a project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and coordinated by the Council for Agricultural Research and Development in West and Central Africa (CORAF/WECARD). The objective of the review is to enhance the knowledge base and support research-based policy formulation for climate change adaptation in the smallholder agricultural sector (crops, livestock, pastoral systems and fisheries) in West Africa. Peer reviewed journal papers, peer reviewed reports of CGIAR centres and international organisations, papers published in conference proceedings and consultancy reports were studied. Materials published from 1995 to 2013 were used for the report.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Review of Research and Policies for Climate Change Adaptation in the Agriculture Sector in...

Full title: Review of Research and Policies for Climate Change Adaptation in the Agriculture Sector in Southern Africa

Working Paper 100 Paul Mapfumo, Abdulai Jalloh and Sepo Hachigonta

There is a growing and critical need for decision-makers at different levels in Africa, from local (community) to national and sub-regional scales, to develop matching response strategies and policies in order to reduce vulnerability and foster resilient livelihood systems on a sustainable basis. This document presents the main findings of a critical review conducted to examine the current evidence of research and policies on climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector in Southern Africa.

With a specific focus on Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe, the desktop review was guided by three main objectives: i) to synthesise the major findings from agricultural research on climate change adaptation conducted in Southern Africa; ii) to identify research and policy gaps on climate change adaptation with a specific focus on Southern Africa’s agricultural sector; and iii) to identify key stakeholders and opportunities for climate change adaptation for the agricultural sector in Southern Africa. For the purposes of the study, agriculture was defined broadly to include not only crops and livestock, but also forestry and fisheries systems. Information was primarily drawn from available but limited refereed journal articles, official government documents and grey literature from reports and websites of diverse organisations practically addressing or actively engaged in debate on climate change issues in the Southern African region.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Review of research and policies for climate change adaptation in the health sector in West Africa

Future Agricultures Working Paper 88 Seydou Doumbia, Abdulai Jalloh, Aliou Diouf April 2014

The African continent is the most vulnerable region in the world to the impacts of climate change. While there is undisputed evidence that the climate is changing, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the pace and extent of the impacts on the sub-regions of Africa. This review is aimed at identifying gaps in research and policymaking for climate change adaptation in the health sector in West Africa. The purpose is to provide information and insights that can be used to bring researchers and policymakers together to improve evidence-based policymaking that can enhance food security and protect populations vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change.

This report is based on a systematic review of literature on climate change and related health risks, policy and adaptation strategy over the past 15 to 20 years. The search included a broad-based review of published, peer reviewed and grey literature and interviews. Priority was given to relationships between climate change and health risks and vulnerability in West African countries, with a focus on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Review of Research and Policies for Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas in Southern Africa

Working Paper 101 Miriam Joshua, Abdulai Jallohand Sepo Hachigonta

This paper provides results for a review of climate change adaptation research and polices in the Southern African urban sector, focusing in particular on water resources management and use and gender relations. The review was conducted to identify gaps in research and policymaking for climate change adaptation in the urban sector, with the aim of improving evidence-based policymaking that can enhance food security and protect populations vulnerable to climate change. The study focused on Southern Africa using Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe as case studies.

Southern Africa remains the most urbanised region of Africa, with the country having the largest (61.5 percent) urban population, while Malawi is the fastest urbanising country in the world. Projections show further increases in urban population, suggesting that population growth in the region is becoming largely an urban phenomenon. Additionally, rural-urban migration is resulting in an increase in the proportion of poor population in the urban areas. Due to low capacity of local governments, the poor population lives in slums mushrooming on marginal land, without social amenities and highly vulnerable to natural hazards. Climate change is expected to worsen the vulnerability of these communities through impacts on water availability and quality leading to water stress, energy crisis, food insecurity, human health problems and sea level rise in coastal cities as well as destruction of infrastructure. The most vulnerable are the poor and especially women due to gendered division of labour and power relations. Urban populations with high adaptive capacity are less vulnerable to effects of climate risks.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Review of research and policies for climate change adaptation in urban areas of West Africa

Future Agricultures Working Paper 89 Maruf Sanni, Abdulai Jalloh and Aliou Diouf April 2014

There has been an unprecedented increase in human population and urban development in recent times. The West African sub-region is no exception. The sub-region’s population is growing at an average annual rate of three percent, and could reach 430m by 2020. Climate change will increase existing urban system challenges in the sub-region. Against this background, the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) commissioned a review of literature on climate change impacts and adaptation in urban areas of West Africa. This was with a view to enhancing the knowledge base and to supporting research-based policy formulation for climate change adaptation in urban areas of West Africa. This review was carried out using peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, grey literature, policy documents, technical reports, relevant government and non-governmental organisation (NGO) documents and libraries over the past 15 to 20 years.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Review of Research and Policy for Climate Change Adaptation in the Agriculture Sector in C Africa

Working Paper 98Jacob Mbua Ngeve, Abdulai Jalloh and Michel Ndjatsana

This report is the result of a review carried out to synthesise research and policies related to the adaptation of agriculture to climate change in the Central African region. Climate change poses serious challenges to the agriculture sector in the Central African region. Africa has generally been considered among the most highly vulnerable regions to climate change because of extremes of drought, flooding, inappropriate land tenure systems, over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture and widespread poverty.

All the countries of the region are signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); participate in regional institutions including the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) with its Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM); have created structures for climate change issues (a National Climate Change Unit in Cameroon, a National Climate Council in Gabon and an Industrial Afforestation Unit in the Congo Republic); have ongoing policies, instruments and initiatives for climate change adaptation; and exhibit some awareness among stakeholders of the serious climate change impacts on agriculture, livestock, pastoralism and fisheries. However, many countries are yet to establish field research activities on adaptation. Also, governments appear to lack firm funding commitments on adaptation, arguing that financing of climate change adaptation should be carried by external donors or developed country partners.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Review of Research and Policy for Climate Change Adaptation in the Health Sector in Central Africa

Working Paper 96 Nafomon Sogoba, Abdulai Jalloh and Michel Ndjatsana

There is a growing research interest in and support for adaptation to climate change in Africa. It is thus imperative that the findings emerging from relevant research are actually applied and used to inform policymaking concerning climate change adaptation. The objective of this review is to enhance the knowledge base and to support research-based policy formulation for climate change adaptation in the health sector in Central Africa.

This work is an initiative of a project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and coordinated by the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/ WECARD) to review research related to adaptation to climate change in the health sector in the Central African region. The review encompassed peer-reviewed journal articles, theses, grey literature and reports over the past 15-20 years to capture as much as possible of scientific and indigenous knowledge as well as policies related to climate change adaptation. The possible gaps that form the basis for further research and policy formulation were also identified.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Review of Research and Policy for Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas in Central Africa

Working Paper 97 Napi Wouapi, Abdulai Jalloh and Michel Ndjatsana

The aim of this report is to synthesise research and enhance the knowledge base related to climate change adaptation and to support research-based policy formulation for climate change adaptation in urban areas in Central Africa. Central African cities are highly vulnerable to climate change, which is one of the most important challenges facing cities across Africa and around the world today. Urban poor bear the brunt of its effects since they live and work mostly in informal settlements that are more exposed to hazards. This is being exacerbated by a combination of exposure to projected climate hazards and extreme events coupled with low or limited adaptive capacity.

Focusing on three countries in the region (Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo), this review captures examples of research and policy related to climate change adaptation in urban areas. The review identifies gaps in research and policymaking for climate change adaptation in the above sector and proffers insights that can be used to improve evidence-based policymaking. The latter aims at enhancing the knowledge base and integrating climate change into national and regional urban planning, governance and policies, thereby enabling research-to-policy linkage for adaptation to climate change in Central Africa.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The Politics of Agricultural Carbon Finance: The Case of the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project

STEPS Centre Working Paper 49by Joanes Atela

In the context of major scientific and policy concern with the causes and implications of climate change, various actors are now keen to demonstrate how agricultural carbon finance can help achieve multiple benefits or ‘triple wins’ for sub-Saharan African agriculture.

The target areas for these demonstrations have complex sociopolitical histories including prior donor interventions seeking to address related problems of poverty and the environment. Agricultural carbon finance, with associated globally framed narratives and interests, arrives on the back of these interventions and intersects with existing socio-cultural contexts and local and national policy processes to reshuffle livelihoods and ecologies.

This paper explores this interplay empirically, drawing on evidence from the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project (KACP). KACP is the first World Bank supported project on agricultural carbon finance in Africa and has worked with groups of smallholders in western Kenya since 2008. Fieldwork, interviews and document analysis show how a powerful donor-science network has established a dominant narrative around ‘triple wins’ which does not resonate well with local circumstances.

Farmers, concerned with food security through maize farming, focus on only one ‘win’- increases in maize production – with little awareness of or attention to climate resilience or carbon income. The Kenyan government, on the other hand, faces an implicit dilemma as to whether to mechanize agriculture as a quick fix for looming hunger or to embrace conservation agriculture for carbon finance.

As more powerful, resource and scientifically endowed global and project development institutions intersect rather messier, informal and complex local institutions, there is not a neat unfolding of a planned ‘agricultural carbon project’ – but a more complex situation from which various actors are nevertheless able to draw benefit, but from which certain farmers lose.

This paper therefore justifies the need to go beyond top-down donor and science-driven projectization of agricultural carbon finance. Approaches and associated capacity-building need to inform farmers more fully of links between sustainable farming practices and carbon; clarify their carbon rights, and attend to wider development issues such as water access and secure land tenure which bear heavily on carbon projects. This is vital if smallholder farmers are to become more empowered to expand their opportunities and wellbeing in the context of climate change and the uncertain promise of carbon money.

This paper was produced jointly by Future Agricultures and the ESRC STEPS Centre

Warming to Change? Climate Policy and Agricultural Development in Ethiopia

Future Agricultures Working Paper 71Leulseged Yirgu, Alan Nicol and Shweta SrinivasanAugust 2013

This paper addresses how policy responses to climate change are shaping the agricultural sector in Ethiopia, and their significance for the country’s future development. The paper highlights the multiple policy and institutional responses, including those that fall under a new policy direction of ‘green’ economic development, with a focus on development of a low-carbon economy by 2025. Under this broad banner, emerging policy narratives centre on achieving ‘climate smart’ agriculture, establishing more intensified and commercial approaches and, in the livestock sector, seeking major transformations in pastoralism within the country’s lowland periphery. At the same time, a number of structural gaps are emerging, including the success with which climate policy is being integrated across different natural resource sectors, from water and land management to rural afforestation.

Important political-economic considerations are shown to be driving some of the emerging challenges, as Ethiopia struggles to find ways of engaging a rapidly-growing economically active population. The paper suggests that externally-driven policy processes are crowding out more coherent analyses of key national-level resource management and development issues, and that a rush for climate finance may crowd out important local knowledge and experience from below that can better inform policy responses. Without adequately addressing multiple challenges facing smallholder farmers in many parts of the overcrowded highlands, question marks continue to surround the capacity of the country to achieve real agricultural transformation under the ambitious Growth and Transformation Plan.

Climate Change and Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Concerns, Old Arguments?

Paula Silva Villanueva and Rocio HiraldoSeptember 2011

The purpose of this paper is to map current policy debates on climate change and agriculture in Africa. We analyse the key debates in view of key narratives and associated actor networks, and show how current discussions link to major debates within the agriculture sector over the past decades, helping to address the often missing attention to history in current debates on climate change and agriculture.