WINDHOEK: The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa has teamed up with four southern African countries to build capacity in the face of climate change that is based on needs assessment.
Training sessions were conducted in Maputo, Mozambique from 12 to 14 September; Lusaka, Zambia from 19 to 21 September; Harare, Zimbabwe from 25 to 27 September 2012; and a three-day workshop that commenced in the capital on Tuesday.
Speaking at the opening of the ‘Climate risk capacity building in southern Africa workshop’ at a local hotel, CSIR Climate Change Scientist Claire Davis explained that the event is aimed at building capacity in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Region in the face of climate change, based on needs assessment in Namibia.
The course is intended to equip decision makers with up to date information, which is appropriate for country level planning on the impact and risk of climate change and variability.
The Climate Risk and Vulnerability Handbook for Southern Africa (Davis, 2011), which Davis edited will be used as the basis of the training with the programme built around the core chapters.
The book covers climate change and climate variability in southern Africa, the potential risks involved and the impact it will have on the countries.
“The handbook was conceived and designed with the intend to provide decision- makers with up to date information, appropriate for country planning, on the impacts and risks of climate change and variability. It presents a selection of information, translated to communicate climate change processes; key existing and emerging trends; impacts and the possible measures that could be taken to reduce these impacts,” she stressed.
Davis warned that these four southern African countries are extremely vulnerable to climate change effects, especially rural communities that lack the capacity to adapt.
She noted that a dependence on rain for farming contributes to further risk; the deterioration of livestock and crop farming, both as food and as economic activities, are both likely to threaten the livelihood of African communities.
According to Davis, the training will build on the existing information dissemination strategies of the SADC Climate Risk Capacity Building project, and indirectly feeds into the SADC Climate Change Strategy.
Topics under discussion include key findings form the Africa Adaptation Project-Namibia; introduction to climate change and what it means for southern Africa and Namibia; agriculture and water resources; biodiversity and tourism (including coastal zone); health and well-being; flood and drought management; climate change and disaster risk reduction; climate change management in Namibia; measures to mitigate climate change; climate finance; as well as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
The course is presented by Davis, Dr Emma Archer and Dr Julia Mambo also from CSIR. The course is funded and endorsed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and implemented by the CSIR, Kulima Integrated Development Solutions and the Climate Systems Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town.
The workshop ends Thursday.