Integrating Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change into Sustainable Development Policy Planning and Implementation in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACCESA)
Sub-Saharan Africa is recognized as being highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including an increased risk of drought, wild fires and water shortages. To reduce the vulnerability of Kenyans, Mozambicans and Rwandans to these anticipated changes, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and its partners initiated one of the first dedicated adaptation projects in Africa over a five-year period commencing in 2005. It supported community-level adaptation actions that enhanced resilience to climate change in the short and long terms, and promoted integration of adaptation into policy- and decision-making at the national and subnational levels.
This multi-country project undertook pilot initiatives to: (1) increase resilience to climate change at the community level and (2) promote the integration of climate change adaptation into sustainable development plans and planning processes at the national and subnational levels. Relevant findings for future work in the region include:
Improved access to relevant climatic information at the local level is imperative.
Better access to local meteorological data and downscaled weather forecasts is needed to assist adaptation actions such as altering agricultural planting practices in light of seasonal weather forecasts, determining fire-danger rating indices and monitoring water flows to support decisions related to hydropower management. Better access to this information would also assist in monitoring long-term shifts in climatic patterns.
Policy change can be expedited by catalyzing local partnerships and embedding adaptation initiatives in existing programs.
Direct and continual engagement of policy-makers in pilot projects allows for hands-on learning about effective actions and the development of strong working relationships. Policy-makers are then better able to draw upon these lessons and relationships as opportunities arise, facilitating the process of mainstreaming adaptation into policy- and decision-making. Embedding pilot projects in larger government initiatives can also ensure the long-term sustainability of a project’s outcomes.
Engagement of district and municipal officials in adaptation actions is critical.
Adaptation to climate change largely occurs at the local level. The engagement of district and municipal governments in adaptation projects—particularly in countries in which decentralization is taking place—can play a critical role in building the understanding and capacity needed to facilitate the integration of adaptation considerations into district-level policies and planning.
Kenya: Increasing Community Resilience to Drought in Sakai.
Working with the people of Sakai sub-location, the pilot project promoted community-level actions and changes in national policies that reduced the vulnerability of farming communities to current and future drought conditions.
Mozambique: Establishing Community-Based Fire Management in Central Mozambique.
The project sought to address growing concerns about wildland fires in Mozambique through training and capacity building undertaken at the community level and with district governments.
Rwanda: Reducing the Vulnerability of Rwanda's Energy Sector to the Impacts of Climate Change.
Working in Northern Province, the pilot project aimed to increase the resilience of Rwanda’s hydroelectric sector through community-level watershed improvement activities, enhanced management and operation of two hydropower facilities, and changes in relevant national policies.
Enhancing Resiliency to Drought in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-arid Lands (PDF – 536 KB).
A case study that captures the key outputs of the ACCESA pilot project in Kenya at the field and policy level.
Information and Communications Warning System on Wildland Fire in Mozambique (PDF - 1.3 MB).
A 2009 technical report that identifies key steps toward establishing and implementing an information and communication early warning system for wildland fire management in central Mozambique. The paper’s Executive Summary (PDF – 906 KB) is also available in Portuguese.
Adaptation in Eastern and Southern Africa: Supporting ground level and policy change (PDF – 888 KB).
A presentation delivered in at Open Days 2008: European Week of Regions and Cities, held October 6–9, 2008, in Brussels, Belgium.
Preparing for Climate Change in Eastern and Southern Africa (PDF – 843 KB).
A brochure prepared in May 2007 that provides an overview of the ACCESA project.
Funders: Global Environment Facility, Government of the Netherlands and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
Partners: United Nations Environment Programme; the governments of Germany, Kenya, Mozambique and Rwanda; International Institute for Sustainable Development; African Centre for Science and Technology; Centre for Science and Technology Innovations; Arid Lands Resource Management Project; Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit; AMBERO-IP; and the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.
For further information about this project, please contact: