Linking climate science with development landscape in Africa

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By Padili James Mikomangwa, NECJOGHA

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – In order to make Africa’s climate landscape resilient against climate stress, particularly from floods and other climate uncertainties, climate experts have suggested ways of overcoming it.

This was during the African Climate Risk Conference, held on October 7th and 8th, in Addis Ababa—Ethiopia.

A pilot study, done by the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA), in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso came up with rather a comprehensive blend of materials to take in.

 “One of our main results observed from study is that the increasing floods in the cities is partly due to the increase of heavy rainfall in West Africa, and other factors such as land-use change, rapid urbanization and lack of flood resilient capabilities,” Dr. Fawe Tazen, an expert from AMMA said while contributing at the conference.

 Other observations from the study focused on the fact that—in the future, climatic and urbanization trends will make flood issues worse, without assuming robust adaptation measures and better infrastructures.

According to Floodlist, in 2016 Burkina Faso, torrential rainstorms affected more than 10,260 people in over 13 regions. In the realization of flood resilience, AMMA anticipates the creation of flood resilient database to fully understand hydrology of Ouagadougou, but also—developing tools to integrate climatic risks to combat such impacts.

Dr. Laurie Tall, who also works for AMMA, said that one of the shocking factors was that: due to changing climatic conditions in the Sahel-Senegal, there are reductions in regional average yield by 10 to 20 percent for millet and 5 to 15 percent on sorghum.

“The key issues are the Sahel is getting hotter, while remaining significant uncertainties, the most likely scenario is drier in the Sahel area longer dry spells, and climate is affecting crop yields, and it is anticipated that they will further major crop effects due to warmer climate by 2050, ”Dr Laurie comments.

For Lusaka, Zambia, Alice McClure, who is the coordinator for the Future Resilience for African CiTies and Lands (FRACTAL) project, commented that “We used the city learning lab approach, which is the multi-stakeholder events that bring diverse necessary set of perspectives to co-produce or co-define a problem and explore a problem to co-produce knowledge and contribute to change and solutions”

Tanzania and Malawi presented on how to use climate science on making big decisions. Declan Conway working for a project called UMFULA, brought forth a comprehensive idea to the fold, insisting that: there are many approaches are available, but we need to suit the scale of the decision situation.

“There are actually now many approaches available to try to understand and bring in climate information in decision making and planning process. We have to think very carefully, about what are the most suitable or appropriate methodology to decision we are considering, and we can think this in a spectrum of levels detail and sophistication we want to employ,” he added.

In that context, the three years long project cast light upon two basins: Lake Malawi on the Shire River and Rufiji River in Tanzania, exposing various trade-offs and co-benefits across development plans, touching on irrigation expansion, ecosystem services, and hydropower plants.

 

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