Institutional Mapping for Climate Change Adaptation in Eastern Africa
The Eastern African region, including the Horn of Africa, is highly vulnerable to climate change and several of its major sectors that significantly contribute to the sub-region’s economies will be severely affected. First, areas already facing water scarcity may get drier and thereby cause associated disputes and conflicts. Secondly, in East Africa, 80% of the population is involved in agriculture, which contributes to 40% of the sub-region’s GDP.1 Climate change will significantly impact the agricultural sector in ways that will ultimately cause reduced yields of subsistence crops, cash crops and dairy. Thirdly, the eastern African highlands are vulnerable to a range of climate-sensitive diseases including malaria, dengue fever, meningitis and rift valley fever—whose increased incidence and spread is driven by climate variability.2 Fourthly, a long coastline with diverse ecosystems characterizes the eastern African region including the Horn of Africa. The gradual disintegration of coral reefs due to climate change will have significant impact on seafood supplies, region’s tourism, water quality and safety of coastal communities. Finally, the region’s rich biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change since changes in mean temperature are predicted to shift ecosystem boundaries with resultant human/wildlife conflicts. It could similarly increase the range of some vectors and infectious diseases.3 A number of constraints to reducing the vulnerability of socioeconomic systems to climate change exist, key among these being the disconnect between national adaptation efforts and research. Useful local knowledge as well as modern research potential has not been effectively tapped to inform the national policy-making processes. There is an increasing recognition within the climate change research community that the climate system is likely to undergo further changes, regardless of the implementation of abatement policies under the Kyoto Protocol or other regimes. Similarly, numerous gaps still exist in our understanding of the nature of Africa’s vulnerability to climate change and the existing opportunities for adaptation. In many of these countries, there is a need for improved scientific and technical capacity to conduct the integrated, multi-disciplinary regional investigations necessary to fill these gaps. Climate change country focal points, regional agencies, and international agencies have all been engaged in the search for viable responses. On their part, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) launched the Climate Change Adaptation in Adaptation (CCAA) programme in 2006, which aims to establish a self-sustained African body of expertise on adaptation that responds to the needs defined by African communities, decision makers and organizations. The CCAA programme sees capacity development as an ongoing process that should continue beyond the life of the projects it funds.