ASSAR Research to Influence Policy

| May 26, 2015

Results of the on-going Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) research project that started in 2014, in drought prone areas of Bobirwa and Kgalagadi are expected to influence policy and practice.

Officiating at a five-day ASSAR workshop on May 20, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Mr Dikagiso Mokotedi said identifying Bobirwa as the specific research site was a wise choice as the area was prone to recurrent seasonal droughts.

Bobirwa area, Mr Mokotedi said was an area that had recently been experiencing various challenges, such as droughts and outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth disease leading to destruction of livestock- the lifeline of most of Batswana.

Therefore, since the research is being conducted on well-being, vulnerability, current adaptive responses, barriers and enablers to adaptation, climate vulnerability and impact and adaptation knowledge and driven by stakeholder needs, he said the findings of the project would influence policy and practice.

Whilst focusing on semi-arid areas in general, the permanent secretary said Southern African team had also identified the Limpopo basin in Botswana as one of the study’s areas of focus.

Limpopo Basin, he said, was home to more than 80 per cent of the population of Botswana. This being the case, he said, should climate change result in further reduction in rainfall and runoff, this large population would be acutely affected.

“We therefore need to understand as to who are vulnerable and to what extent, as well as propose adaptation strategies when facing these challenges. We look forward to your project to contribute significantly to addressing some of these challenges. Your project really has the potential to influence and to impact people’s livelihoods,” he added.

For his part, ASSAR Consortium leader, Prof. Mark New said as the global impacts of climate change become more clearly understood, he said, so too did the need for people to effectively respond and adapt to these changes.

To date, Prof. New said most climate adaptation efforts had focused on reactive, short-term and site-specific solutions to climate-related vulnerabilities. Although important, these responses often fail to address the root causes of vulnerability, he added.

He said since the semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia are particularly vulnerable to climate-related impacts and risks, it was essential to understand how to empower people, local organisations and government to adapt to climate change in a way that minimised their vulnerability and promoted their long-term resilience.

Therefore, the ASSAR research project, he said aimed to investigate the root causes of vulnerability to climate change and researches solutions to proactively spur widespread, effective and sustained adaptation that could positively affect socio-economic development.

By addressing this knowledge shortfall, he said, ASSAR research project also aimed to transform climate adaptation policy and practice in ways that promoted the long-term well-being of the most vulnerable.

The ASSAR project is a collaborative research project involving research teams in East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, India, the United Kingdom and the United States. The project is part of a larger research effort called Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA).

The ASSAR team, led by the University of Botswana, is undertaking a multi-scale analysis of climate change policy, practice and governance. This is done through key informant interviews, network analysis, power analysis and document analysis and understanding the nature and determinants of well-being among individuals and households in Bobirwa sub-district and threats to well-being from recent and future climate change and socio-economic change.

Additionally, the team is also developing scenarios and working with local stakeholders to develop adaptation strategies that can improve the well-being in Bobirwa, engaging with local, district, national and regional stakeholders to inform ASSAR research and to maximise the uptake of ASSAR research results and also contributing to comparative analysis across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and between different ASSAR regions.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

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