Adapting to climate change


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Adapting to climate change

  1. 1. jotoafrika adapting to climateIssue 7 August 2011 change in AfricaCONTENTSThe future of pastoralism in a changing The future of pastoralism in a changing climateclimate 1Adapting pastoralism to a changingclimate 2Coping with drought in Niger 3Grazing management as an adaptation Editorialmeasure 4 This issue of Joto Afrika provides researchUsing Mbororo herders’ traditional findings, lessons learnt and success storiesknowledge 5 from across Africa.Vulnerability in Ethiopias pastoral Pastoralism is a free-range livestockcommunities 6 production system. It is practised in all Key messages include:Letters to the editor 7 of Africa’s dryland regions, and in someLivestock insurance in northern Kenya 8 communities it is the main source of food Recognise the multiple processes and security and income. But will pastoralism stressors that govern the vulnerability survive in the changing climate? of pastoralists to climate change. Pastoralists are suffering from the effectsAbout Joto Afrika of climate change; policy makers andJoto Afrika is a series of printed briefings and Statistics from African Union’s policy framework for pastoralism (2010) show that development agencies must be sensitiveonline resources about adapting to climate to this. They should also respond to thechange in sub-Saharan Africa. The series there are 268 million pastoralists. They live other non-climate stressors that affectwill help people understand the issues, and move on 43 percent of Africa’s land pastoralism.constraints and opportunities that poor people mass and contribute between 10 to 44 perface in adapting to climate change and cent of the Gross Domestic Product in the Protect pastoral land and enhanceescaping poverty. countries that they live in. the mobility of pastoralists and their livestock. Pastoralists have coped with Pastoralism has immense potential for climate stressors for a long time, usingJoto Afrika is Swahili; it can be loosely reducing poverty, generating economic mobility strategies for the sustainabletranslated to mean ‘Africa is feeling the heat’. management of dryland vegetation andThe next issue will focus on climate change growth, managing the environment, promoting sustainable development, and water resources. This strategy needs toand energy. be enhanced through appropriate land- building climate resilience. The 2010 African use policy frameworks.Please tell us what you think about this Union’s policy framework recognised thisseventh issue of Joto Afrika and what you importance. Consider index-based livestockwould like to read about in future issues - insurance schemes as one of thecontact details are on page 8. But despite these positive aspects, strategies for protecting livestock pastoralists are experiencing rapid changes keepers against climate risks. Lessons in their environment and welfare as a result coming from pilot livestock insurance of the changing climate. The incidences of schemes should be considered before severe, back-to-back droughts are rising, repeating and up-scaling. resulting in the deaths of large livestock Invest in building the capacity of numbers as pastures and water sources pastoralists. Education and training dry out. In addition, human populations programmes enhance pastoralists’ and settlements are increasing, taking up skills and help them to diversify traditional grazing areas and competing their enterprises, improve resource for water resources. Pastoralists are also management, and take up employment suffering from occasional but severe floods. opportunities. These must be strengthened through appropriate financial Such upheavals are taking place under support and policy interventions. an inadequately developed service infrastructure, with poor market linkages and Eric Kisiangani weak, unprepared institutions. Pastoralists Climate Change Adaptation Unit, Practical are becoming increasingly marginalised. Action Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya Tel +254 710712752 The future of pastoralism in the changing climate is the subject of national and global discussions. The concerns are catalysing the scientific community to generate knowledge Mahmoud Abdel Aziz and share experiences and best practices Department of Animal Production, Alexandria Women in search for pasture and water for their University, Egypt animals in Kyuso, Kenya. © Kimathi Tony, 2011 that may offer solutions for the survival of pastoralism and the millions of people Tel +966 50 871 6707 dependant on this livelihood.
  2. 2. Adapting pastoralism to a changing climate Research summaryEnclosures made of dried twigs and stones protect small ruminantsfrom the scorching sun in Kenya’s Chalbi Desert. © Oseni SaiduPastoralism is complex; it seeks to Pastoral systems contribute significantly Saidu Osenimaintain a balance between pastures, to national and regional economies, START African Climate Change Fellow,livestock and people, in uncertain with many countries exporting meat and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife,and variable environments, where other livestock products. Pastoralists Nigeriaalternative land uses are risky. The also maintain cooperative and economic frequency of extreme weather relations with settled communities alongevents in the tropics – especially floods their mobile routes. Bockline Bebeand droughts – may overwhelm the Department of Animal Sciences, Egertonexisting resilience of pastoral systems. Intervention strategies University, Njoro, KenyaThis raises questions about their With respect to climate change adaptation, obebeb@yahoo.comsustainability. intervention strategies to support pastoralists should be geared towards This work on pastoralism and climateClimate change and climate variability are building adaptive capacity and resilience change adaptation was supported throughcreating increasingly vulnerable conditions in in pastoral communities, through the the Climate Change Adaptation in Africafragile pastoral ecosystems. Changes in land following steps: (CCAA) programme, funded by the DFIDtenure and agriculture, and sedenterisation and the IDRC, with coordination by START,(the settling of groups), are also fracturing develop policies that provide Washington, DC.large-scale pastoral ecosystems into isolated pastoralists with opportunities tosystems. practice mobile livelihoods enhance and secure pastoralists’Debates about pastoralists access to strategic resources – See also essential if they are to respondTwo opinions prevail about the impacts Vulnerability of worldwide effectively to climate changeof climate change on pastoralists. Some reverse policies that contribute to their pastoralism to global changesexperts argue that pastoralists will be among marginalisation, such as forced settling and interdisciplinary strategiesthe first groups to lose their livelihoods, as give pastoralists opportunities to to sustainable pastoralism, by S.rangelands and water points dry up. Others participate in decision-making for Dong, L. Wen, S. Liu, X. Zhang, J.P.insist that pastoralists are the best equipped policies that are connected to their Lassoie, S. Yi, X. Li, J. Li and Y. Li,to adapt to climate change, since their livelihood Ecology & Society 16(2):10, 2011livelihood strategies are honed to respond promote pastoralists’ resilience toto scarce and variable natural resources, droughts by developing livestock Pastoralism Information Note 5.and to cope with uncertain agro-ecological markets, defending communal land Pastoralism and Climate Change, by tenure, good governance and respect J. Morton, Natural Resources Institute,conditions. for pastoral rights University of Greenwich, 2010 scale-up and fully implement livestock, these authors argue that disaster insurance schemes forpastoralists’ adaptation capacities have been pastoralists: this can prevent a Index-based livestock insurance.eroded as a result of their historical and downward slide of vulnerable pastoral Protecting pastoralists againstsocial marginalisation. They conclude that populations due to climate threats mortality loss due to severe foragetheir vulnerability to climate change is more research appropriate dissemination scarcity, by A. Mude, Internationala consequence of this marginalisation, rather pathways for climate information and Conference on ‘The Future ofthan climate impacts. The threats of climate climate impacts to pastoralists and Pastoralism in Africa’, Addis Ababa,change are seen as related to the diminishing stakeholders, involved in policy-making 21–23 March 2011.capacity of pastoralists to use their adaptive and service provision.capacities.So climate change is a double-edgedsword; it focuses attention on the potentialcatastrophes facing pastoral areas, but mayalso distract attention from the policy and Talk to usgovernance problems that hinder pastoral Please tell us what you think about thisdevelopment, and also prevent pastoralists seventh issue of Joto Afrika and whatfrom adapting to climate change. you would like to read in future issues – contact details are on page 8.This marginalisation is partly because the truevalue of pastoralism is poorly understood. The next issue will focus on energy.Several authors have described a detailedevaluation procedure, which identifiespastoralism as the dry lands’ ‘invisible asset’.Page 2
  3. 3. Coping with drought in Niger Research summaryA pastoral boy herds cattle in south-west Niger. © Stevie Mann(ILRI), 2005Livestock are a store of wealth for Some people eat less, giving priority Investment in index-based livestockpastoralists, and play an important to children under 5 years, pregnant insurance schemes will minimise therole in drought mitigation and risk- women and nursing mothers. risks faced by pastoralists duringcoping strategies. However, droughts of Some families send members to work droughts.increasing frequency and severity are elsewhere, especially in urban centres,threatening the pastoralist way of life. and in neighbouring countries including Augustine A. Ayantunde Nigeria and Benin. ILRI, B.P. 320, Bamako, MaliPastoralism and agro-pastoralism are the Pastoralists rely more on assistance Tel +223 20223375dominant livestock production systems in from family and close relations in the a.ayantunde@cgiar.orgmost parts of sub-Saharan Africa’s arid community who are relatively rich, andand semi-arid zones. But grazing lands those in the urban centres. This article is a product of a project onare being lost due to drought, increasing Some engage in small-scale trade, for reducing vulnerability to droughts inpopulation pressure and restricted access example selling or bartering livestock agropastoral and pastoral systems in Eastto land. This is forcing more and more for grain. and West Africa, funded by the Systemwidepastoralists to settle and grow crops, Families delay major expenses, like Livestock Programme.resulting in considerable reduction in marriage and schooling, until thegrazing lands. drought is over.Coping strategies Lessons learnedThe International Livestock Research The survey data confirmed the effectsInstitute (ILRI), in collaboration of climate change on pastoralists’with partners, analysed the coping livelihoods. It is important that researchers,mechanisms of Fulani pastoralists in policymakers and other stakeholdersTillabery, Maradi and Zinder regions, recognise the multiple processes andpastoral and agro-pastoral zones in Niger. stresses that increase their vulnerability.The project considered the roles of poor There are several initiatives that couldpastoralist and agro-pastoralist producers improve community responses to drought:and associations, non-governmentalorganisations, donor organisations, The management of grain and feedresearchers and policy makers. banks should be improved at household level.The project identified technical, policy and Improved market access, especiallyinstitutional intervention options that could for food crops, would enable morereduce the vulnerability of livestock and livestock–grain exchanges during Subscribe totheir keepers to climatic shocks, particularly drought.drought. This involved collecting and The enhancement of livestock mobility,sharing available knowledge on current through the integration of existingclimate change and identifying potential riskmanagement and coping options. regional and national policies on livestock into local conventions. Joto Afrika Illegal levies, imposed by local authoritiesOne coping mechanism is the sale of live for the passage and grazing of herds,animals during drought to buy grains for should be removed; these contravene laws Organisations and individuals in Africahousehold consumption. The animals sold that guarantee livestock mobility. can receive a free printed copy ofare mainly males, but breeding females are the briefings. Each issue will also besometimes sold in severe droughts. This available on the ALIN website (www.makes herd reconstitution after a drought more difficult. Pastoralists also sellfresh milk and processed milk products. See also You can subscribe by sending an email to Please Identifying livestock-based risk include your organisation and your fullThe data collected shows that livestock management and coping options to postal address. You can also subscribeplay an important role in the resilience reduce vulnerability to droughts in and send feedback via SMS, toof poor pastoral communities in Niger. agro-pastoral and pastoral systems +254717032322 and start with the wordBut communities have other coping in East and West Africa (2007–2009). Joto.mechanisms as well. They collect wild plants for food, such as wild millet varieties, the grains of grasses including Cenchrus biflorus, and some fruits. Page 3