Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

AfricaInteract Regional consultation of Synthesis on research and policy related to climate change adaptation in regions of sub-Saharan Africa
15 July 2013

Region: Southern Africa

Location: Garden Court OR Tambo International Airport Hotel, Kempton Park, South Africa

Date: 11 July 2013

The Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) in collaboration with the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) conducted a one day, “Consultation Workshop for the Review of Climate Change Research and Policy in the Agriculture, Health and Urban Development Sector in Southern Africa” on 11 July 2013. The workshop was conducted under the AfricaInteract project with the objective of bringing together a cross section of stakeholders on climate change adaptation in the region to interrogate three reports undertaken by regional experts. The reports were focusing on South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi but with the objective of giving a regional picture on impacts of climate change in health, agriculture and the urban sector.

Dr Sepo Hachigonta opened the meeting, welcomed participants and presented an overview of the AfricaInteract project in Africa. The AfricaInteract project is an African-wide initiative aimed at providing an appropriate forum for interaction among a broad range of African stakeholders on climate change adaptation. These stakeholders include civil society, researchers, policy-makers, development partners, and the private sector working on adaptation to climate change in agriculture, health and urban development. He noted that the AfricaInteract project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and coordinated by CORAF/WECARD in collaboration with FANRPAN as the focal point in Southern Africa.

The objective of the consultation workshop was to bring together a cross section of stakeholders on climate change adaptation in each region to review the reports undertaken by regional experts. The expected outputs were as follows:

  • Status of research and policy on climate change adaptation reviewed by stakeholders.
  • Gaps in research and policy related to climate change adaptation reviewed and updated where necessary.
  • Recommended research and policy actions prioritized and recommendations for implementation made.

The reports provide a synthesis and review of research results on adaptation to climate change in agriculture, health, water and urban development sectors. The review also provides information and insights that can be used to improve evidence-based policy making aimed at enhancing food security and protecting populations vulnerable to climate change.

The regional consultation workshop sought to solicit comments and suggestions of regional experts from different sectors (government, civil society, researchers, farmers organisations) which will be incorporated into the reports. The reports will then be presented to regional stakeholders comprising policy makers (Regional Economic community and government ministries) civil society and Non Governmental organizations as well as researchers for validation. The review by relevant regional stakeholders is expected to not only incorporate the perspectives of these stakeholders but to ensure their direct involvement in the process thereby fostering ownership and willingness to engage one another positively to ensure greater positive outcomes in resilience to climate change adaptation.

The workshop was organized into two main sessions and these were the morning presentations with plenary discussions and the afternoon group work to review and prioritise research recommendations. The afternoon group work session was a comparison of the consultants’ recommendations with the output from the morning plenary discussions. The whole session enabled the participants to engage with the reports and the consultants in order commend audible recommendations and to identify those that needed to be rectified.

Ms Hlami Ngwenya, Manager: Knowledge management at FANRPAN facilitating the plenary discussions.

Consultation workshop participants.

Dr Miriam Joshua from the University of Malawi presented on the urban sector, Dr Mao Amis from Africege in South Africa on health while Prof Paul Mapfumo from CGIAR in Zimbabwe presented on the agricultural sector. The presentations gave an overview of the findings from the three reports and were analysed by the participants through the plenary discussion. Some of the outputs that came out are as follows:

The Urban sector report:

  • The selection criterion for the countries of study was meant to give a comparison of scenarios that are at extreme ends in terms of climate change variables and the urban sector.
  • The definition of the urban sector in the report was country specific as it differs from country to country depending on the level of development.
  • It was noted that cities also have a high potential to climate change vulnerability and adaptation.
  • There is need for a holistic approach when tackling the issue of climate change and the urban sector as this affect the all the sectors of national development. There is need to consider key words that include national development, economic, development, disaster management etc.
  • There is a close causal-effect relationship between rural areas and the urban areas in terms of climate change. Both sectors share resources that include rivers, dams, agricultural produce, human resources etc. and poor management of these resources affect the performance of either sector. There is therefore, a need to have a balanced integrated approach when planning for either sector.

The Health sector report:

  • It has to be noted that climate change models forecast on 10-20yrs impacts as climate change effects scientifically take a longer time to manifest. The findings on the report therefore, give a picture of future effects that need to be planned for, now.
  • South Africa as at a more advanced stage in terms of climate change adaptation in the health sector. The health department in South Africa is currently conducting a needs assessment that will facilitate the development of an adaptation strategy.
  • Participants acknowledged that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is doing a lot of work on climate change and health and it will be prudent to consider and narrow down some of the models they are using to a regional and national level.
  • There is need to amplify issues of watershed management as they have an impact on climate change and health.

The agriculture sector report:

  • There is need for sustainable solutions that recognize the role of the smallholder farmers in the policy making process.
  • There is need for trajectory systems for implementing aid programs during drought periods.
  • There is need to contextualize seed improvement under climate change and not necessarily agriculture.
  • Risk management should be a stand-alone policy agenda so that it is given the magnitude of attention it requires in the context of climate change.
  • Improving regional trade may assist on climate change adaptation.

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