The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Can climate services serve African farmers’ needs, at scale? Evidence, good practice, and remaining gaps

Access to relevant climate services for farmers in sub-Saharan Africa has increased substantially over the years, yet uptake and integration in decision making remains highly variable. Many crop farmers, but fewer livestock farmers and pastoralists, with access to climate services act on the information. While estimates of the economic benefits of agricultural climate services are generally positive, uncertainty remains due largely to methodological challenges and evidence gaps between available services and what we know about farmers’ needs.

As climate service practice matures, achieving scale will require overcoming some persistent weaknesses in their design and implementation, and capturing and communicating the benefits of improved climate services for reducing agricultural risk.

At the November Adaptation Community Meeting, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) will present on the state of evidence about the uptake, use and impact of climate services for farming in sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on lessons learned from the USAID-supported Climate Information Services Research Initiative (CISRI) project, with illustrations from the Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project, as well as other USAID-supported agricultural climate services activities in Africa. The presentation will examine how growing evidence provides insights about good practice for agricultural climate services.
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Science to Impact: SERVIR’s Service Planning Toolkit

After over a decade delivering on SERVIR’s goal of bringing space to village, SERVIR faces many of the key challenges that plague research for development initiatives. These challenges include making certain that research is meeting genuine needs and is demand driven; connecting and tailoring information for relevant real-world decisions; avoiding redundancy; and ensuring SERVIR outputs have proper handoffs, capacity transfers, and incentives for sustainability. After ten years of learning, SERVIR captured these lessons in a “Service Planning Toolkit” to help the program and its partners design sustainable services that maximize SERVIR’s investments for development impact.

Join the organizers for a webinar that will provide an overview of the SERVIR Service Planning Toolkit, examples of toolkit implementation from partner institutions, and a discussion of broader applications for those working in the field of research for development.
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Managing for climate risk: Approaches and perspectives from the World Bank, USAID, International Finance Corporation and Inter-American Development Bank

A changing and more variable climate, bringing with it increasingly frequent, longer and more severe droughts, heat waves, floods and extreme weather events, is putting the most vulnerable populations at higher risk of disease, displacement, and loss of livelihoods. Climate change also threatens to undermine development interventions aimed at improving the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable populations. To improve resilience to both current and future climate, as well as safeguard development gains, several leading organizations within the international development community have implemented processes to manage climate risk at various levels from high-level country strategies to specific project activities.

At the June Adaptation Community Meeting, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the Inter-American Development Bank will come together to discuss each organization’s current and emerging approaches to climate risk management. The discussion will highlight each organization’s approach, initiatives to track and assess the effectiveness of climate risk management, lessons learned, and ideas for the future.
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Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Development Results

Nature provides ecological services such as clean air and water, biodiversity, and food. It can also help people adapt to weather and climate impacts -- an idea known as "ecosystem-based adaptation" (EbA). Around the world, governments, development agencies, civil society, and local communities are increasingly adopting a range of conservation and natural resource management strategies that build up human resilience to climate hazards. Drawing on these experiences, USAID is completing a suite of resources on ecosystem-based adaptation that feature evidence summaries and case studies for applying these approaches to achieve development goals across sectors like agriculture, water, and disaster risk reduction. This session will highlight key messages from these resources as well as examples of EbA projects and approaches in the USAID context, while encouraging dialogue among participants about the use of EbA in their own work.
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Addressing Gaps in Climate Services for Agriculture: The AgMetGaps Project

When a farmer makes decisions about what to plant, when to plant and how to care for her crop, her observations regarding weather and climate from the past year are not necessarily a good indication of what is likely happen this year. Climate services such as seasonal climate forecasts connected to crop simulation models or other types of decision support approaches (e.g. participatory roundtables) adapted to the farmer’s specific context have the potential to facilitate decision-making in communities confronting increasing climate variability and climate change.

While climate services have the potential to support agricultural decision-making, their effectiveness and suitability can vary substantially from one site to another. Given limited resources and a multitude of potential investment priorities, it is extremely important to approach investment in climate services in a systematic way that is both demand driven and has high potential for success.

Join the next Adaptation Community Meeting to hear from USAID adaptation advisor Kevin Coffey and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) senior scientist Steven Prager on USAID's investments and strategies for climate services, specifically the work of the AgMetGaps project.
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Communities to Landscapes: Multi-scale Approach to Climate Adaptation in Nepal

Many communities in Nepal rely on forests and subsistence agriculture for food and income, and ecosystems for water supplies and protection from disasters. That dependence is threatened by increasing climate variability and longer-term change. Already, farming and water supplies are affected in many areas, and more extreme rainfall events are exacerbating flood and landslide risk.

The USAID/Nepal-funded Hariyo Ban (Green Forests) Program is using an integrated approach to address the multi-faceted challenges climate change poses to livelihoods and biodiversity. The February 15th Adaptation Community Meeting will feature Judy Oglethorpe, former Chief of Party for Hariyo Ban, who will share the importance of working at multiple scales (from community to landscapes) as well as within various political and ecological spheres to achieve positive adaptation outcomes.
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Improving Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change Through Conflict Resolution: Lessons from Ethiopia

In recent decades, arid and semi-arid rangelands in the Horn of Africa have experienced the effects of two related threats: 1) increasingly frequent and severe droughts amplified by climate change, and 2) outbreaks of conflict among pastoralist groups whose access to natural resources has been squeezed by population growth, land development, administrative boundaries, rangeland degradation, and erratic and extreme weather. Development practitioners are giving increasing attention to the idea that collaborative community activities, focused on building key institutional relationships, may contribute to conflict prevention, and that lower levels of conflict can provide the opportunity to enhance the scope and quality of climate adaptation.

The January 18th Adaptation Community Meeting will feature Jeffrey Stark, a conflict and climate change specialist, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of addressing the climate-conflict nexus in programming. Mr. Stark will specifically speak to lessons learned from a recent assessment he conducted of the USAID-funded Peace Centers for Climate and Social Resilience (PCCSR) pilot project. This project, which ran from 2014 to 2017, endeavored to reverse patterns of pastoral conflict over natural resources in several districts in southern Ethiopia.
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