DFID         Department for         International                                                 This key sheet is part o...
implications of drought in relation to food                                       security and hydropower. Climate extreme...
• Sea level rise associated with climate change                              and anthropogenic factors) has already reduce...
• Meningitis transmission, associated with dust                                  ability of the poor to cope with the exis...
networks of affinity and trust; livelihood                                     Understand the vulnerabilities and         ...
include reliable early warning systems giving                                 The following key sheets explore these issue...
Further information                               Contact details    Seasonal rainfall predictions for Africa          DFI...
© Crown Copyright 2004. Any part of this    publication may be freely reproduced    providing the source is fully acknowle...
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Africa climate

  1. 1. DFID Department for International This key sheet is part of a series aimed at DFID staff and D eve l o p m e n t development partners examining the impact of climate change on poverty, and exploring tools for adaptation to climate change. This key sheet concentrates on climate change in Africa. It aims to guide the reader through the key issues of: • Africa’s climate; • Climate change in Africa; • Impacts on development; • Implications for Africa; and • Implications for international policies.10 Climate change in Africa Increasing climate variability is compounding vulnerability in Africa. Development planning needs to consider current and increasing climatic risks. ’As if land shortage is not bad enough, we live a life of tension worrying about the rain: will it rain or not? There is nothing about which we say 1 ‘this is for tomorrow’. We live hour to hour’ . Even without predicted changes in climate, Africa has a highly variable and unpredictable climate. Africa today struggles to cope with these existing climate pressures, due to wider development issues including governance, poverty and AIDS. The question of how to adapt to climate change in Africa must therefore be answered in the context of these immediate problems. Understanding the climate’s impact on poverty in Africa is key to identifying the most effective means of adaptation to climate change. The ability to adapt to increasing climate variability depends on planning systems that take into account the impact of climate on development. Climate variability, drought and poor people’s vulnerability should not be seen as separate emergency issues. Coping with today’s climate Africa has a highly variable and unpredictable climate, which is poorly understood by Sven Torfinn, Panos climatologists (see Box 1 for comments on the scientific understanding of Africa’s climate). Climate variability has significant impacts on African development, for example, the 1 Narayan, D., Chambers, S.M. and Petesh, P. 2000. Crying out for change. Voices of the Poor series. The World Bank, Oxford University Press, New York.1
  2. 2. implications of drought in relation to food security and hydropower. Climate extremes Box 1 Climate have significant economic impacts and drive large allocations of emergency resources. What do we know variability has For example: about Africa’s climate? • The 1991/2 drought in Malawi resulted in a What we know is that Africa has a highly significant 2 loss of US$1billion in cereal losses ; variable and unpredictable climate. It is impacts on not fully understood by climatologists. For • The 2000 drought drastically reduced the African electricity potential of hydropower in Kenya, example, rainfall in the Sahel varies for the develop- which depends on hydropower for around region as a whole, over short distances, ment. It 70% of its power supply. The drought led to from year to year, and within single daily blackouts and power rationing. A seasons. There are a number of key points: drives large US$72 million emergency loan from the • It is difficult to model the African allocations World Bank was required, including climate, due to a complex topography, of emergency diesel generators ; 3 feedbacks from surface cover, and the emergency influence of ocean basins; resources • Baseline data on African climate, which is essential to drive models of future climate, is sketchy at present; • El Niño has a dominant influence on climate patterns in Africa – it is linked with reduced summer rainfall in South Poor East Africa (e.g. the drought in Southern people’s Africa in 1991/2), and with higher than ability to average rainfall in Eastern Africa – but it is not fully understood, and is mixed up manage with the effect of climate change; and climate • Due to the feedback of surface cover on variability climate in Africa, there may be apparent will be over- climatic changes that are widely seen as whelmed by greenhouse gas-induced ‘climate change’. the extent of climate change What do we know about climate change in Africa? Paul Lowe, Panos Models of climate change suggest that the climate in Africa will become more variable. Some regional predictions for changes in temperature and rainfall have been made. Predictions of the long-run effects – over the 6 • Mozambique’s rate of GDP growth declined next 50 years – suggest the following changes : from 8% in 1999 to 2% in 2000, as a result of the devastating cyclone and associated • Africa is likely to get drier in northern and 4 floods of 2000 ; and southern latitudes and wetter in the tropics; • These overall trends hide variation within • The 1997/8 El Niño caused extensive floods regions and countries, for example southern in Somalia and Kenya during the driest Africa may be drier as a whole but some month of the year leading to disease, damage countries may be wetter than average; to property and crops. An outbreak of rift valley disease led to livestock deaths and a • Climate variability and the frequency and malaria outbreak caused hundreds of deaths intensity of severe weather events is likely to 5 in previously unexposed populations . increase; and 2 Clay, E., Bohn, L., Blanco de Armas, E., Kabambe, S., and Tchale, H.,2003 Emergency Power Supply Project. Report No. T-7388-KE. Malawi and Southern Africa: Climatic Variability and Economic Performance. 4 World Bank 2003 World Development Indicators database. Disaster Risk Management Working Paper No. 7. http://devdata.worldbank.org/data-query/ and Mozambique’s PRSP: 3 The total value of the loan was $120 million but was expected to provide http://poverty.worldbank.org/files/Mozambique_PRSP.pdf benefits of $48 million in power revenues. Of the $72 million, 70% was 5 Little P.D., Hussein, M. and Coppock D.L.. 2001 When deserts flood: risk spent on increasing private sector capacity and 30% on increasing fuel management and climatic processes among East African pastoralists.2 supply to an existing thermal power plant. World Bank 2000 Technical Climate research 19: 149-159. Annex for a Proposed Credit of $72 million to the Republic of Kenya for an
  3. 3. • Sea level rise associated with climate change and anthropogenic factors) has already reduced could threaten low-lying areas of West Africa, the potential vegetative productivity of more and coastal fisheries. than a quarter of Africa’s land by 25% over the past 30 years. Some rapid changes have already been observed. For example, in the Sahel there has Health may be affected as climate change been on average a 25% decrease in rainfall results in the extension of malaria risk zones, over the past 30 years – characterised by a as temperatures increase and patterns of 7 decrease in the number of rainfall events . rain change. Uncertainty of predictions There is currently very little information – that is of practical use to decision-makers – on the precise extent and impacts of climate change, especially for any specific location within a country. Most climate change predictions are for the long-term (2050–2100) while shorter- term suggestions are too uncertain to use in planning decisions, and global climate models make predictions on a very broad scale of 300km2. Making predictions of future climate change in Africa is problematic as a result of Africa’s complex climate and the lack of data on the current climate to feed into models (see Box 1). This reduces confidence in projections of future change. Specific predictions at the country-level or in the short-term are particularly uncertain. Nevertheless, climate change will inevitably present a significant challenge for developing countries, and the need to adapt to these Jeremy Hartley, Panos changes remains an inescapable conclusion. In a practical sense we can start by reducing their vulnerability to today’s climate. Impact on development • Malaria has already increased in the The longer-term impacts will include: changing highlands of Rwanda and Tanzania associated rainfall patterns affecting agriculture, food with recent changes in temperature. Longer- security and economic growth; shifting term modelling suggests malaria transmission 9 temperature zones affecting vector diseases; risk will double by 2080 . We need to decreased water security; sea level rise; and the • Rift valley fever, which afflicts people and understand economic costs of extreme weather damage. livestock, is closely related to heavy rainfall how the and such conditions may increase with climate Food security is likely to be affected by climate increased frequency and intensity of droughts change. An outbreak in 1997 associated with affects the or floods. Gradual changes may also be a an El Niño event killed up to 80% of livestock vulnerability concern: studies show an increase in in Somalia and northern Kenya. temperature by an average of 2ºC would of the poor • Cholera, associated with both floods and drastically reduce the area suitable for growing droughts, may increase with climate change. Robusta coffee in Uganda, where it is a major 8 Floods can contaminate public water export crop, limiting it to the highlands only . supplies and drought leads to unhygienic Climate change may also contribute to practices because of water shortages. There is desertification by changing the spatial and also evidence that increased temperatures temporal patterns of temperature, rainfall and can increase the levels of cholera bacteria in winds. Desertification (caused by both climate tropical seas and lakes. 6 Obasi, G.O.P. and Topfer K. (Ed.s) 2001 IPCC Summary Report for Policy 9 Martens et al 1999. Climate change and future populations at risk of Makers. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New malaria. Global Environmental Change 9: S89-S107. York, NY, USA.: www.ipcc.ch/pub/spm22-01.pdf 7 Hulme, M. 2001 Climatic perspectives on Sahelian desiccation: 1973-1998. Global Environmental Change Part A 11(1): 19-29. 8 Simonett, O. 1989 Potential impacts of global warming. Case studies on3 climate change. GRID-UNEP, Geneva.
  4. 4. • Meningitis transmission, associated with dust ability of the poor to cope with the existing in semi-arid conditions and overcrowded climate. AIDS in particular is changing living conditions, may increase with climate development patterns. If current AIDS trends change as arid and dusty conditions spread continue in Africa, it is predicted that life across the Sahelian belt of Africa. expectancy will fall below 30 years of age by 2010. It is already changing social structures in Water security. By 2050 rainfall in Africa could Sub-Saharan Africa. For example, in Zimbabwe decline by 5% and become more variable year 10 2.2 million people are living with AIDS and by year . 600,000 children have been orphaned by the Displacement of people. Sea level rise resulting pandemic, losing both their immediate and from global climate change threatens coasts, extended families. lagoons and mangrove forests of both eastern and western Africa including Mozambique, Tanzania and Angola. Sea level rise is likely to threaten coastal infrastructure and settlements along the coasts of Africa, with impacts on urban centres and ports, such as Cape Town, Maputo, and Dar es Salaam. More than a quarter of Africa’s population lives within 100km of the coast, and projections suggest that the number of people at risk from coastal flooding will increase from 1 million in 1990 to 70 million in 2080. Coastal and inland flooding, related to excess rainfall, is also a risk for road, rail and air networks. In Tanzania, a sea level rise of 0.5 m would inundate over 2,000 km2 of land, costing 11 around US$51 million . Beneficial impacts. Not all changes will be negative: growing seasons may lengthen with better rains in some areas, or increasing temperature may deliver increased crop, livestock and fisheries yields. However, predicting what any of these changes are in the short-term is currently speculative, and beneficial impacts are likely to be outweighed by the adverse impacts of unpredictable change. Impact on the poor It is difficult to predict the impact of increasing climate variability on the poor and levels of poverty. However, it is clear that the impact of Morris Carpenter, Panos climate variability is multiplied in Africa due to the many development problems it faces. ‘The drought’s effect is made worse because of AIDS. AIDS is devastating traditional Swazi life, as before we were able to help one another in the fields.’ Chief Malvnge Nyangenn, Swaziland, commenting on the 2001 drought. The poor have mechanisms to cope with The poor face a particularly rapid pace of climate variability, but many of these will be change in Africa, due to the globalisation of overwhelmed by the extent of changes or by trade, conflict and demographic change. Trends other pressures on their livelihoods. Households such as the rising burden of AIDS, and the in Niger have dealt with recurrent drought impact of prolonged conflict are reducing the through a variety of strategies including 10 WWF 1996 Study of Impacts of Climate Change in Southern Africa. Prepared by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK. 11 UNEP 2002 Africa Environmental Outlook: Past, Present and Future Perspectives. UNEP: Nairobi.4
  5. 5. networks of affinity and trust; livelihood Understand the vulnerabilities and decisions responsive to environmental capacities of the poor disturbances; switching between capital assets; Understanding the impacts of climate and migration to look for work until the drought variability on the poor requires an has passed. However in contrast, pastoralists in understanding of people’s vulnerabilities and Kenya were unable to draw on traditional capacities to all external shocks and trends. migration strategies during the 2000 drought because land had been sold off to meet income For example, comprehensive vulnerability needs and more affluent farmers had erected assessments of food security and livelihood barriers across grazing lands. conditions are being undertaken in six SADC countries – Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, In Sudan in 1997, conflict worsened the impact Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique – by the of drought, leading to a famine and deaths of Vulnerability Assessment Committees (VACs). 100,000 people. The drought was triggered by The VACs were set up in 1999 and are made up abnormal changes in the intensity and of governments and partner agencies, with field distribution of rainfall, but the ongoing conflict teams undertaking focus group discussions, key Increasing had led to an increase in vulnerability: an informant interviews and house-to-house visits climate estimated 40% of households lost their cattle in order to undertake livelihood analyses and variability and 80% households were displaced. Conflict collect data for indicators. The vulnerability also disrupted markets and distribution of food assessments enable targeted assistance for food makes aid, leading to scarcity of food and aid. Similar approaches, that take a holistic poverty exceptionally high food prices . 12 view of what causes vulnerability, can also be reduction The increasing climatic variability in Africa, used to design longer-term programmes of risk more resulting from increasing concentrations of reduction and poverty alleviation. difficult atmospheric GHG emissions, makes poverty reduction more difficult and adds greater Reduce the vulnerability of the poor urgency to decreasing the vulnerability of a) Support the coping strategies of the poor the poorest. Based on an understanding of vulnerabilities, capacities and risks, support can build on The country-level people’s local means of coping with risk. This might include income-generating activities to response allow for cash purchases, or supporting Africa is in need of urgent effective development migration as a form of coping with climate action, which, by definition, is resilient to variation or market fluctuations. current and increasing climate variability. It is In Mali, Bukina Faso and Niger in the Sahel, necessary to strengthen systems for coping with there is a range of migration patterns, as climate variability and reducing vulnerability, families cope with resource scarcity. In Mali, and to integrate these into planning. there is circular migration of women and Strengthened systems for coping with current children because drought is localised and a climate variability will enable Africa to address move to stay with relatives elsewhere 13 the longer-term impacts of climate change. reduces pressure on the household . Seasonal Climate variability drives huge allocations of migration to towns may also present an emergency resources and affects everything attractive option in areas with opportunities to from health and infrastructure planning to gain income or skills. Focused policies that public finances and budget support debates. enhance the benefits and reduce the risks of migration can therefore help reduce DFID contributed £43 million in relief to Africa vulnerability to climate change. alone in 2002. A ‘relief culture’ – in which local and national authorities rely on b) Support government action humanitarian agencies to address humanitarian crises – must be avoided. The alternative is a Governments also have a responsibility to ‘risk reduction’ or risk management culture, share the burden of climate risks and take providing co-ordinated social protection, specific action to reduce the vulnerability of preventative measures and carefully targeted the poor. relief, and promoting increased resilience African farmers need research and support to through access to markets and income- help them adapt to existing weather and other generating opportunities. issues including pests and markets. This might 12 Deng, L.B. 1999 Famine in Sudan: Causes, Preparedness and Response - A political, social and economic analysis of the 1998 Bahrel Ghazal Famine. IDS Discussion Paper 369. 13 Rain, D. 1999 Eaters of the Dry Season: Circular Labour Migration in the5 West African Sahel. Westview, Boulder.
  6. 6. include reliable early warning systems giving The following key sheets explore these issues in information on the timing, length and more detail: adequacy of rainfall, or research into crop • Key sheet 05 Responding to the risks of species that are more resilient to both pests and climate change: Are different approaches to climate variation. The most successful early poverty eradication necessary? warning systems rely on detailed surveillance of communities and monitor social changes as • Key sheet 06 Adaptation to climate change: well as changes in rainfall. For example: Making development disaster-proof; • The Government of Kenya has developed a • Key sheet 07 Adaptation to climate change: community-based surveillance questionnaire The right information can help the poor to cope; that collects information on the movement of • Key sheet 08 Adaptation to climate change: pastoralists and the length of time and Can insurance reduce the vulnerability of the distance to fetch water supplies. This early poor? and warning system forms part of a wider natural resource and drought management • Key sheet 09 Taking initial steps towards programme that supports building adaptation. institutional capacity for contingency planning e.g. drought scenario planning, design of rapid interventions, and improving The international the linkages between district governments 14 and communities ; and response To support adaptive capacity in Africa, there are • In Namibia the ad-hoc response to the 1992 a number of implications for international policy drought has led to the development of a and research, including the UN Framework National Drought Strategy. This includes Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and protective measures such as provision for a the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change National Drought Fund and an emergency (IPCC). The UK Government will: water supply scheme; preventative measures such as early warning systems and cash-for- • Work to foster a collective process allowing work schemes; and promotive measures such the exploration of options and negotiation of as small-scale irrigation, rainwater harvesting, solutions for a global emissions reduction 15 and improved aquifer management . regime in partnership with developing countries; Integrate climate risks into • Work with African governments to place the development planning voice of poor countries in Africa more In a highly aid-dependent Africa, providing effectively in the negotiation process; additional aid to cover ‘climate change’ as a • Encourage the international research separate issue – or current climate variability as community to develop a research agenda that a separate issue – will not be effective in Responding reflect the needs of poor countries, is based reducing the impact of climate on poverty. on an understanding of current poverty and to climate Responding to climate variability requires vulnerability, and provide tools to predict and variability development agencies and African governments understand current climate variability and requires that to work on the development of planning systems extremes and short term climate change planning that integrate increasing climate risks. Planning within planning timescales (3-5 years); and that takes account of current climate patterns systems • Support African governments to identify the can be improved across a range of sectors such integrate as agriculture, water resources management and practical implications of information arising climate risks public health. from the research community, including long-term scenarios generated by global or There is the opportunity to achieve this through regional climate models. PRSPs (Poverty Reduction Strategy Processes) and similar processes, which should contain realistic growth predictions and plans that reflect the impacts of climate. For example, the government of Mozambique has recognised climate variability and extremes as a constraint to development within its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. 14 Office of the President, Kenya 2002 Project Concept Document: Arid Lands Management Project Phase II. 15 Sweet, J. 1998 Livestock – Coping with Drought: Namibia – A Case Study. Northern Regions Livestock Development Project Tsumeb, Namibia.6 Prepared for the FAO.
  7. 7. Further information Contact details Seasonal rainfall predictions for Africa DFID Public Enquiry Point (Regional Climate Fora): Tel: 0845 300 4100 http://www.ogp.noaa.gov/mpe/csi/appdev/ (local call rate from within the UK) africa/mapalg.htm Tel: + 44 (0) 1355 84 3132 Regional climate change impacts (from outside the UK) (Chapters 7, 10 & 11): Fax: + 44 (0) 1355 84 3632 http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc/regional/ Email: enquiry@dfid.gov.uk Website: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/ Maps of climate change impacts (World Resources Institute): Global and Local Environment Team, http://www.climatehotmap.org/ Policy Division, DFID Living with Risk: A global review of disaster Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7023 0934 reduction initiatives: Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7023 0074 http://www.unisdr.org/unisdr/eng/about_isdr/ Email: s-pieri@dfid.gov.uk basic_docs/LwR2003/lwr-03-table-contents- eng.htm Risk reduction Network, ProVention Consortium: http://www.proventionconsortium.org/ Report on Adaptation to climate change in the developing world (IIED): www.iied.org/docs/climate/adapt_to_cc.pdf Estimated number of people at risk of climate change. The Jackson Institute at the University of East Anglia: www.uea.ac.uk7
  8. 8. © Crown Copyright 2004. Any part of this publication may be freely reproduced providing the source is fully acknowledged.8