Climate Change Adaptation Partnership

According to the United Nations, the surface of Africa contains an enormous quantity of extremely valuable natural resources, making mining crucial for the economy of most African countries. In this image, workers check on a mine fire trap in South Africa. Photo courtesy of The Commons
According to the United Nations, the surface of Africa contains an enormous quantity of extremely valuable natural resources, making mining crucial for the economy of most African countries. In this image, workers check on a mine fire trap in South Africa. Photo courtesy of The Commons

It is not easy to fully understand a system as complex as global climate change. However, a wealth of evidence shows that global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of the rising surface air and subsurface ocean temperatures and observing events such as melting glaciers, rising global sea levels and shifting physical and biological systems.

Human activities are primarily to blame for the recent warming. The Earth’s climate has already changed due to this warming.

The possible impact of climate change on nations troubled by conflict is another area that has received far less attention from scholars and policymakers. In these environments, the effects of previous, current or impending warfare already threaten states and societies.

On one hand, climate change is anticipated to strain political, social and economic structures significantly. On the other hand, conflict is seen to be a primary factor contributing to climate vulnerability.

The previous several years have shown that mitigation alone will not be enough to stop climate change; consequently, adaptation has become more critical, especially for developing nations, because of the disparate effects of climate change. It became essential to consider African responses to climate adaptation as a way to cope with unavoidably occurring but unanticipated environmental changes.

The entire land area of Africa is 11,724,000 square miles. Africa is three times the size of the United States.

According to the United Nations, the surface of Africa contains an enormous quantity of extremely valuable natural resources. One billion tons of minerals worth $406 billion were produced in Africa in 2019.

The biggest reserves of uranium, cobalt and diamonds are found on the continent, along with 40% of the world’s gold and 90% of the world’s chromium and platinum. These minerals are necessary for the majority of modern electrical goods including cell phones and computers.

Africa has long been a significant supplier of uranium for nuclear power plants and atomic weapons, and cobalt is mostly utilized in manufacturing lithium batteries.

In addition, Africa is home to 65% of the world’s arable land. Coal and petroleum are among the most abundant resources in more than 22 of the 54 countries that make up Africa.

Therefore, to ensure a sustainable future, the issue of adaptation cannot be solely attributed to one country; instead, it calls for international cooperation. Adaptation is critical, and both theoretical and practical approaches must recognize this to respond to climate change successfully.

Adaptation Partnership

The Adaptation Partnership is an international forum to promote cooperation and communication between organizations and actors engaged in worldwide efforts to increase climate change adaptation and resilience. The Partnership was established in May 2010 at the Ministerial Conference of the Petersburg Dialogue. More than 50 countries were involved, and the United States, Spain and Costa Rica served as its co-chairs.

Together with highlighting needs and objectives, the Partnership seeks to integrate best practices and lessons learned to lower risk and increase resilience to the negative consequences of climate change. The Partnership highlights needs and priorities and identifies opportunities for cooperation to reduce risk and increase resistance to the negative consequences of climate change.

In short, the Partnership’s goal is to improve and enhance communities of practice involved in adapting to climate change. These communities of practice will promote activities and tools that will help link adaptation practitioners to others engaged in complementary efforts and challenges in various regions and around the world.

The Partnership is designed to deliver through three main elements: 

  • A rapid review of adaptation action in Asia, the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Regional workshops to facilitate participatory action planning and knowledge sharing.
  • The strengthening of communities of practice to support implementation and learning.

The possibility to share knowledge acquired from integrated projects, initial work toward developing tools and guiding principles for obtaining co-benefits through cooperation, and promoting dialogue and collaboration among a diverse array of policy actors are all essential.

The Adaptation Partnership has brought together practitioners and policymakers worldwide to share lessons learned and identify opportunities for further collaboration on crucial adaptation issues. To improve knowledge of the connection between adaptation to climate change, peace and security, and its implications, the Adaptation Partnership must be strengthened.

If governments are to make informed and transformative choices concerning climate change, they require the best and most up-to-date science. Climate information exists that could improve decision-making within these sectors, thereby mitigating the effects of adverse climate change.

However, climate information is seldom incorporated into policy formulation and development decisions. A recent study by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) found gaps in four main areas: integrating climate into policy, integrating climate into practice, climate services and climate data.

The IRI study results indicate an urgent and high-priority need for a major global effort to include climate risk management in climate-sensitive development processes at all levels.

The IRI study also revealed other issues, such as a lack of evidence regarding climate variability’s impact on climate-sensitive development outcomes and the benefits of climate information to improve these outcomes. It is imperative to increase climate information awareness and prove its importance to decision-makers in sectors that are vulnerable to climate change.

There will always be uncertainty regarding the future, but by advancing science, the great uncertainty surrounding the possible local effects of climate change might be reduced. Other top priorities include bridging the gap between traditional and scientific perspectives on climate change and recognizing the need for decision-making in the face of uncertainty.

There are three types of climate information:

  • The capacity to quantify variability and the frequency of extremes is made possible by historical data, which also helps to clarify patterns, offer climatic statistics and provide context for present data. 
  • Real-time data, such as observations on the present climate, which provide short-term forecasts of the effects of particular meteorological events, such as heavy rain causing flooding. 
  • Climate forecast, that is, climate predictions, ranges from long-term weather forecasts through seasonal forecasts to medium- (10–30 year) and long-term climate change projections.

Climate change affects most sectors that development initiatives concentrate on, including water resources, agriculture, health, energy and transportation. The prospect of including climate information in the decision-making and policy formulation process might significantly increase the efficacy of these initiatives, yet they are largely overlooked.

It’s becoming evident that multidisciplinary development planning and climate science initiatives require an integrated strategy. Such an approach’s usage of climate tools will improve stakeholders’ ability to make decisions by giving them new, pertinent information that they can put into practice.

Strengthening livelihoods by improving agricultural productivity, diversifying on- and off-farm activities, providing better access to markets and market information, and improving infrastructure will reduce people’s vulnerability to climate variability and extremes.

Conclusion 

Events linked to climate change, such as catastrophic floods or protracted droughts, can have far-reaching social and economic effects and undo years of progress. The detrimental effects of climate change on households compound to harm national economies. Thus, climate change poses a risk to both households and governments.

Climate change education and awareness campaigns should focus on raising public understanding of the environment’s role in creating a shared experience and a community of interest. When educational institutions participate in awareness-raising campaigns, the effect is enhanced.

It is now imperative to engage in activities that specifically address the next generation, such as university settings, public outreach and environmental education in primary and secondary education. It would also be beneficial to boost international conferences, seminars and workshops to sensitize the issues further. These are no longer optional.

Author

  • Debay Tadesse

    Debay Tadesse, Ph.D., graduated with a B.A. in world history from Georgia State University and an M.A. in African history and a Ph.D. in African studies with a focus on public policy and development from Howard University. He is currently a lecturer at Fresno City College and Fresno State.

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