9, April, 2014
LEARNING ALLIANCE HIGHLIGHT

ELLA Learning Alliance on Climate Change Adaptation in Semi-arid and Arid Regions – Module 2: Strengthening Adaptive Capacity

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 first module of this Learning Alliance presented examples of how countries with arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) address the challenges of climate change (CC) through adaptation, covering issues related to infrastructure, water resource management, food security, subsistence agriculture, biodiversity and migration. Although there were many successful examples and voices of optimism across these categories, findings from Module 1 show that current efforts to reduce socio-economic vulnerability to existing climate variability in ASALs are falling short of what is needed. Furthermore, the long-term planning for these efforts is lagging behind the pace of the predicted climate change impacts. Thus, Module 2 will look at dynamic strategies and practices that strengthen rural adaptive capacity, specifically livelihood diversification, asset distribution, decentralised adaptation technologies, women’s empowerment within community decision-making, and the integration of indigenous knowledge into modern adaptation strategies.

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Key Conclusions:

  • Rural communities in ASALs have a long list of priorities that are in constant flux depending on a plethora of factors ranging from macro-economic domestic trends to local agricultural growing conditions.
  • Participants were introduced to a Brazilian CBA project called Adapta Sertão (AS) located in the semi-arid northeast of Brazil, which demonstrates an integrated approach to the dissemination of efficient irrigation technologies, building capacity amongst farmers and their cooperative and increasing access to markets and microfinance.
  • Modernising agricultural technology and methods is usually only successful where agricultural productivity, food security and income can be improved to boost CCA in rural ASALs.
  • Climate change increases the severity and frequency of environmental crisis, concurrently, causing evermore social crisis that more often than not impact women more severely than men, especially in ASALs.
  • Rural communities have historically forecasted rainfalls, designed planting calendars and estimated crop productivity based on natural indicators, greatly increasing their resilience to climatic variability.

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