9, April, 2014

ELLA Learning Alliance on Climate Change Adaptation in Semi-arid and Arid Regions – Module 1: Key Issues and Responses in Developing Countries

Based on a wide breadth of experiences with climate change impacts and adaptation strategies, practitioners from Africa, Asia, and Latin America discussed their local climate realities, identifying shared challenges and exploring what could be learned from one another to improve upon current climate change adaptation in semi-arid and arid regions.

The ELLA Learning Alliance on Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) was a four-month online learning exchange with participants from Latin America, Africa and South Asia, all policymakers, practitioners or researchers working to confront climate related challenges in their respective countries. Each week the ELLA Moderators made thematic posts in the online learning space, exemplifying Latin American climate change adaptation strategies for communities living in ASALs, focusing on mechanisms and actions that increase regional and community level climate resilience. Best practices and methodologies from Latin America were shared with participants in the form of case studies, scholarly articles, interviews with relevant experts, and videos. Based on a set of guiding questions, participants were in turn invited to share experiences from their respective semi-arid and arid regions in the face of similar climate related challenges.

Module 1 of the Learning Alliance presented participants with discussion topics to explore how Latin American countries are addressing the challenges of climate change through adaptation, covering issues related infrastructure, water resource management, food security, subsistence agriculture, biodiversity and migration. To facilitate discussion among participants, case studies from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru were provided.

Learning Alliance participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America discussed how climate change planning and policy practices might be enhanced in their own countries. Participants noted that the plans and policies in Latin America’s ASALs were similar to their countries, but that implementation was weaker in Africa and Asia than in Latin America, due to such reasons as a lack of infrastructure, low institutional capacity and financial constraints. Participants agreed that central government support is essential in the development of effective climate change policy and planning strategies, while also recognising the importance of community-based adaptation, meaning that improved coordination between top-down support and bottom-up ideas is needed.

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Key Conclusions:

  • Climatological impacts were similar across the participants’ various ASALs (such as increased variability of rainfall, reduced total annual precipitation, cycles of severe drought and floods, and desertification); however, the socio-economic impacts discussed were more acute in Africa and Asia due to what most participants attributed to a higher level of climate vulnerability in those regions.
  • Decision-making, coordination, resource allocation, and implementation for CCA in ASALs in all regions are the outcome of complex multi-actor interactions, both domestic and international, with varying degrees of success (i.e. Bangladesh highlights strong institutional capacity; many African countries highlight short-lived continuity of many programmes).
  • Africa, Asia, and Latin America have roughly comparable situations with respect to the drivers of large-scale infrastructure (access to water, electricity, commerce, etc.) and pending challenges with respect to climate-proofing infrastructure.
  • Water project regulators and developers in ASALs tend to focus more on the fundamental and productive activities associated with access to water, but dedicate less planning to the environmental impacts of this development.
  • Knowledge transfer based on sophisticated climate forecasting and information dissemination, though widely praised by participants, must overcome major constraints to deploy (local?) weather stations, strengthen institutional processes in meteorological agencies, and dedicate long-term support to community-specific information services in often isolated ASALs; these programmes must be careful not to overlook the potential benefits of integrating indigenous knowledge.

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  1. The paper has revealed the existing reality on the ground, here in Ethiopian Arid and semi-arid area too . land/pasture land degradation due to inappropriate water point development, and the Non-decentralization of National MET agency for climate information forecasting and dissemination are badly exposed or vulnerable the community to existing bad situation or hazards.

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