Author: Kelvin Mashisia Shikuku Oluyede Clifford Ajayi

Thriving through change: Innovative adaptation tools for resilient food systems in Africa

Source(s): Global Center on Adaptation

A new inventory of adaptation planning tools, frameworks, and methodologies for use by national stakeholders in African countries has been developed to support the efforts to enhance the resilience of farming systems and livelihoods to climate change.

Climate change is increasingly threatening food systems and livelihoods in Africa, a continent with some of the most vulnerable populations in the world. Global surface temperature has increased by 1.09°C from 1850–1900 to 2011–2020, and the trend is projected to continue over the 21st century. In Africa, the rate of surface temperature increase has generally been more rapid than the global average. Rising temperatures increase the possibility of extreme weather events occurring in multiple locations at the same time, posing a great risk to the global food supply chain and amplifying threats to global food security. At least 82% of Africa’s basic food imports come from outside the continent, making it particularly vulnerable to disruptions in global supply chains.

 A new inventory of adaptation planning tools, frameworks, and methodologies for use by national stakeholders in African countries has been developed under the project “Facilitating knowledge management for adaptation planning in Africa” to support the efforts to enhance the resilience of farming systems and livelihoods to climate change. National stakeholders include government officials who plan adaptation actions in the ministries of environment, climate change, agriculture, treasury, economic development and planning. Researchers, academic institutions, managers and planners in land, water, wildlife, and cultural resources, civil society organizations, community planners, risk transfer institutions, private sector, land managers, natural resource managers, and local authorities are also included.

 Adaptation planning is crucial to reduce climate-related risks in Africa. Addressing climatic shocks requires suitable tools, frameworks, and methodologies to coordinate the actions of different actors and develop effective responses to climate change across different time horizons, geographies, and socio-political structures. 

Taking action not only implies the need to identify strategies and responses that are practical, sound, and meet the actors’ varied interests but also requires careful and flexible planning. By increasing awareness and knowledge exposure of national stakeholders to the identified and prioritized tools and frameworks, this initiative aims to greatly increase capacity for adaptation planning in Africa.

Unlocking Africa’s Adaptive Potential

The project producing the inventory, implemented by the Global Center on Adaptation in partnership with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), was initiated to unlock Africa’s adaptive potential to enhance resilience of farming systems and livelihoods to climate change.

While different tools and frameworks for adaptation planning are available, their access and use by national stakeholders for adaptation planning are often hindered by a lack of awareness and knowledge. 

To bridge this knowledge management gap, the inventory of adaptation planning tools, frameworks, and methodologies was developed and is now available for use by national stakeholders across Africa. Developed through a careful review and documentation process, the inventory identifies nine categories of adaptation planning tools and frameworks:

  • Modelling and simulation of climate change impacts
  • Land use planning and conservation
  • Adaptation tracking
  • Monitoring climatic shocks, forecasting and early warning, and dissemination of climate information services
  • Natural resource management
  • Prioritization of climate-smart agriculture and adaptation interventions
  • Assessment of climate risk and vulnerability
  • Adaptation decision support
  • Knowledge exchange platforms

Building on the Knowledge in the Inventory

Without priority setting and capacity building, an inventory may not translate into effective adaptation planning, especially if the tools are not locally relevant. To facilitate local ownership, the project engaged national stakeholders in selected countries across Africa – Kenya (East Africa), Zambia (southern Africa), and Senegal (West Africa) – in prioritizing adaptation planning tools and frameworks that are relevant for their respective contexts. Participants reviewed and discussed the tools and frameworks within each of the nine categories and selected three priority tools.

In addition, the project selected a few of the prioritized tools and conducted capacity building training sessions in Kenya and Senegal in partnership with researchers from the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, ILRI, the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) and other organizations. The training sessions aimed to improve the stakeholders’ understanding of the tools and equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills required for practical application. 

Based on results of the prioritization exercise, stakeholders in Kenya were trained in the Climate Smart Agriculture Investment Plan (CSAIP) and KAZNET. The CSAIP proposes agricultural development projects with the highest potential and suitability, while KAZNET is a digital platform that uses directed crowdsourcing to give livestock traders and producers access to reliable and real-time information. 

Their counterparts in Senegal also received training on CSAIP, as well as Comprehensive Livestock Environmental Assessment for Improved Nutrition, a Secured Environment, and Sustainable Development along Livestock and Fish Value Chains (CLEANED), Climate Risk Management in Agricultural Extension (CRMAE) Reference Guide, and Intelligent Agricultural Systems Advisory Tool (iSAT). CLEANED is a rapid ex-ante environmental impact assessment tool that allows users to explore multiple impacts of developing livestock value chains. The CRMAE Reference Guide provides foundational knowledge on climate and agricultural decision making; and practical tools to analyze climate-related risks, use appropriate weather and climate information to support agricultural decisions, communicate complex climate information effectively with farmers, and integrate climate services into agricultural extension activities. The iSAT generates and disseminates pre- and in-season advisories by integrating insights from historical trends in climate, current weather and climate and weather forecast. 

Further training on the inventory is planned for 2024 through the Food Security pillar of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP). The AAAP is mobilizing $25 billion to accelerate and scale climate adaptation action across the African continent through interventions in four priority areas: food security, resilient infrastructure, youth entrepreneurship and job creation. Mainstreaming and adapting the inventory to different African contexts will accelerate the goal of enhancing resilience of farming systems and livelihoods to climate change through wide scale use of suitable adaptation planning tools.

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