Climate Information Services: Experiences from CGIAR Research Program on Climate - James Hansen

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James Hansen, leader of the of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security's Climate Risk Management theme, presented experiences in providing climate information services to farmers at an International Fund for Agricultural Development East and Southern Africa regional Knowledge Management and Capacity Building Forum, 16-18 October 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya.

http://ifad-un.blogspot.com/2013/10/linking-knowledge-to-action-across-east_17.html
ccafs.cgiar.org/themes/climate-risk-management

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  • Objective 2.2 About food system-level interventions in the face of climate-related shocks.…Using advance information to better manage climate risk through, e.g. delivery, trade and crisis response
  • Agriculture is arguably the sector that is most vulnerable to a variable and changing climate. The risk associated with climate variability contributes to chronic poverty and food insecurity.Consider the probability distribution of some climate-sensitive agricultural outcome, such as production or farmer income. Climate-related risk is most visible at the left tail of the distribution, when a shock such as drought or flood leads to a food crisis. Farmers must often resort to coping strategies strategies, such as selling productive assets or withdrawing children from school, that allow then to make it through the crisis or hardship, but that cause long term loss of livelihood potential even after the stress is over.The uncertainty associated with climate variability prevents farmers from taking advantage of good and even average years. This is because management that is optimal on average may be far from optimal for the seasonal climate in most years. Furthermore, farmers who are wisely risk-averse don’t manage for average conditions, but for more adverse conditions. Climate risk is a disincentive for the risk-averse farmer to adopt improved technology, invest in their soils, and take advantage of profitable opportunities. Climate-related risk impacts not only farmers, but also institutions such as the financial, input and commodity markets that farmers depend on. These effects of climate risk can trap rural populations in poverty. At an international scale, increasing vulnerability to climate has led to an increasing proportion of overseas development assistance being diverted to food crisis response, and away from the long-term development needed to reduce vulnerability. This cycle of declining investment in long-term development; and increasing vulnerability, and dependency on emergency assistance as the “relief trap.”There are a number of opportunities to help move rural communities out of the cycle of poverty and vulnerability, and build resilience. Most depend on climate-related information. Several remain under-exploited because of gaps in climate-related information and services.
  • The agricultural sector is very diverse, and the types of information and services that it need are highly varied and dependent on the context. However we can make a few very broad generalizations. Agricultural decision makers need a combination of historic observations (to characterize variability, trends and risk), monitored information particularly through the growing season, and predictions. The time scale of predictive information needed depends on the time horizon of the particular decision. It can range from short-term weather forecasts, to seasonal prediction, to climate change time scales. However, few agricultural decisions have planning horizons longer than about two decades.NEED FOR LOCALLY-DOWNSCALED INFORMATION, AND INFORMATION TAILORED TO THE TYPES AND TIMING OF DECISIONS SHOULD BE CLEAR. The climate information that is most relevant for agricultural decision making may not be expressed in terms of meteorological quantities. “Value-added” climate information includes things like forecasts of the impacts of weather and seasonal climate fluctuations on crops, rangelands or agriculturally-important pests; management advisories; and decision-support tools.
  • Conflicting terminology about months-seasons. Why
  • We have learned a lot about how to design seasonal climate information that meets the need of smallholder farmers, and communicate it in a way that they can communicate
  • Detailed analysis of decision-making for annual budget/planningUse decision analysis to Identify current sources of information, tradeoffs, and risks.
  • Professional training for agricultural extension, NGOs, other farmer advisorsExpert workshop (Nairobi, 12-14 June 2013)Review, compile materials and experiencesResource book, adaptable training modules, e-training
  • Climate Information Services: Experiences from CGIAR Research Program on Climate - James Hansen

    1. 1. Climate Information Services: Experiences from CGIAR Research Program on Climate James Hansen Theme 2 Leader: Adaptation through Managing Climate Risk IRI, Columbia University, New York ESA Climate Change, Land and Gender Workshop Nairobi, Kenya, 17 October 24 Jun 2013 1
    2. 2. The What and Why of Climate Services Message 1: Climate services can make a contribution to climate-resilient development investment. 2
    3. 3. The cost of climate variability Climate risk contributes to chronic poverty, vulnerability, food insecurity • • • Opportunity cost: uncertainty Affects farmers, markets, the food system, the “relief trap” Climate variability is increasing Dependent on information Constrained by information gaps HARDSHIP • • FORFEITED OPPORTUNITY Several opportunities to help agriculture adapt are… CRISIS • • Downside risk: shocks Probability density • Climatic outcome (e.g. production, income) 3
    4. 4. Examples • • • • • • • Adjusting farm management and input use Community-level early warning and response to rapid onset hazards (flood, storms) Characterize risks for targeting agricultural technology and management Index-based insurance to protect assets, increase access to credit and inputs Improve safety nets and food security interventions Government planning and budgeting? Understand climate change vs. natural variability vs. nonclimatic changes to inform long-term planning 4
    5. 5. Salience: What kind of information do farmers need? • Types of climate information: • • • • Historic observations Monitored Predictive, all lead times ≤ ~20 years Some generalizations: • • • • Downscaled, locally-relevant Tailored to types & timing of decisions “Value-added” climate information: impacts on agriculture, advisories Capacity to understand and act on complex information 5
    6. 6. Time scales: weather or climate? • • Depends on time horizon of decision Generalizations about increasing lead time: • Tillage • Land allocation • Changing farming or livelihood system Decisions more context- and farmer-specific • Sowing • Crop selection • Major capital • Irrigation • Household labor Information becomes more uncertain, hence more complex investment allocation, seasonal • Crop protection migration • Migration • • Technology selection • • • Therefore the scope of services needed increases Harvest • Family succession • Financing for inputs • Contract farming WEATHER HOURS DECADES DAYS … CLIMATE WEEKS MONTHS YEARS 6
    7. 7. Climate services in CCAFS Theme 2 Objective 2: Improved, climateFood System Risk Management informed responses Scale Fill key gaps: • Knowledge • Tools & Methods • Evidence • Capacity • Coordination Objective 1: Local Risk Management GENDER & EQITY LENS Enhanced support for managing risk Resilient food systems, Improved food security Objective 3: Climate Information and Services Climate-resilient rural livelihoods 7
    8. 8. CCAFS climate services experience Message 2: CCAFS is contributing to bringing climate services to smallholder farming and agricultural planning. 8
    9. 9. Piloting in Kenya, Senegal, … • • • • • Learning laboratory Improved information design Workshop process Evidence of what is possible Demand for scaling up 9
    10. 10. Climate services for government planning in Ethiopia • • • Engagement, analysis of subnational planning, budgeting process Social learning platform, testing, dissemination Targeted Outcome: climate-informed planning upstream of existing national emergency decision processes. 10
    11. 11. Training for agricultural extension, other intermediaries 11
    12. 12. Delivering through ICT and media 12
    13. 13. Tackling gender and social equity • • Women disadvantaged when scaling up climate services Ongoing project (U. Florida): • • • Knowledge of how women are disadvantages and how to overcome bias Protocol for identifying and addressing inequity in climate communication Gender challenges incorporated into training for intermediaries 13
    14. 14. Making climate information useful to farmers • • Spatial scale problem Beyond seasonal averages • • • • Onset, length Dry spells Growing, chill degree-days ? Challenges • • • Gaps in data Gaps in daily data Capacity of NMS 14
    15. 15. Making climate information useful to farmers • • • • Started in Ethiopia, with IRI, U. Reading, NMA, CCAFS Satellite + station, 10km grid, 30 year complete record “Maprooms” built on Data Library software Owned, implemented by NMS STATION BLENDED SATELLITE 15
    16. 16. 16
    17. 17. ENACTS at NMS (Ethiopia, Tanzania, Madagascar, …), AGRHYMET Enables NMS to customize, generate and disseminate locally relevant climate information without over-taxing limited human resource 17
    18. 18. Pulling the pieces together: World Vision-Tanzania • • World’s largest development NGO Secure the Future Tanzania: • • • Reach ~1.7M farmers + pastoralists 66 ADP offices • • staff, partnership infrastructure Long-term commitment, where needed 18
    19. 19. Pulling the pieces together: GFCS in Tanzania, Malawi 19
    20. 20. Investing in Climate Services Message 3: The right investment, leveraging other efforts, can bring climate services to smallholder farmers – at scale 20
    21. 21. What can we leverage? • UN Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) • Climate Services Partnership (CSP) • ClimDev-Africa • Regional climate centers • CCAFS Theme 2 hosted by IRI 21
    22. 22. What else is needed? Key challenges • • • • • Salience: tailoring content, scale, format, lead-time to farm decision-making Legitimacy: giving farmers an effective voice in design and delivery Access: providing timely access to remote rural communities with marginal infrastructure Equity: ensuring that women, poor, socially marginalized benefit Integration: climate services as part of a larger package of support 22
    23. 23. What else is needed? Institutional arrangements • • • Limitations of supply-driven climate services Expand the boundary to agricultural research and development Expand the boundaries to give farmers a voice Co-owner (farmer) NMS (climate) INFORMATION PARTNERSHIP NMS (climate) NARES (agriculture) PARTNERSHIP VALUE-ADDED INFORMATION NARES User User (farmer) (farmer) (agriculture) CLIMATE SERVICE CLIMATE SERVICE 23
    24. 24. Suggestions for investing in climate services for agriculture • • • • • Address climate information supply, communication, use bottlenecks in parallel Improving information supply • • Low-hanging fruit for farmer-relevant climate information Caution about investing in observing infrastructure alone Two-fold path to communication capacity: • • Institutional: through agricultural extension, NGOs ICT and media Institutional coordination mechanisms. Who owns climate services for agriculture? Leverage and coordinate with GFCS, broader climate services community 24

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