Highlight: African researchers calculate costs of adaptation
06/09/2012, Machakos, Kenya, sub-Saharan Africa
African researchers discussed how best to analyze the economic costs and benefits of climate change adaptation at a workshop held September 6-11, 2012 near Machakos, Kenya. The event was facilitated by a group of environmental economists associated with the Environment for Development initiative
Researchers presented the initial results of economic analyses completed in the seven projects supported by the IDRC’s African Adaptation Research Centres (AARC) initiative
. The ongoing projects, funded through Canada’s fast-start financing, focus on a variety of themes, from the impacts of climate change on food and water security in Burkina Faso to coastal vulnerability in Egypt’s Nile Delta. Participants shared a common goal: to contribute to the growing body of evidence on adaptation so they can inform decision-makers on the use and targeting of climate change funding.
Broadening participation in economic analysis
Climate change economist Rodney Lunduka was on hand to share a new approach tested in an IDRC-funded project on the Economics of climate change adaptation in the water sector
. Led by the International Institute for Environment and Development, the project developed a stakeholder-focused cost-benefit analysis methodology applicable to diverse climate change and water situations. Lunduka and colleagues piloted the approach in five countries, working closely with developing-country economists. Overall, the process fostered important dialogue among different stakeholders, and incorporated local knowledge in the absence of scientific evidence.
Photo: IDRC/H. Braun
Salvatore Di Falco, University of Geneva, gets into the finer
details of conducting economic analyses of adaptation.
Adaptation in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands
Michael Okoti, senior research scientist with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), presented work on their AARC project, which focuses on safeguarding agricultural productivity in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands. This area covers over 80% of the country and is home to more than 10 million people. The project is engaging communities in the Tana Delta and Ijara Districts to understand climate vulnerability and to explore options for diversifying livestock fodder and crop varieties, as well as testing drought-resistant crop types.
Okoti explained how multi-criteria analysis would be used to assess the costs, trade-offs, and sustainability of specific adaptation strategies proposed for the project sites and to understand the factors that affect household-level decision-making on adaptation.
To provide practical examples of adaptation, KARI colleagues at the Katumani
research station welcomed the workshop participants for a field visit. In addition to seeing adaptation options being tested on-site, participants saw adaptation techniques to conserve water and prevent soil erosion put into practice at the local level in Mwania, a village about 10 km away from Machakos.
Optimizing research results
Having forged connections with key environmental economists and African colleagues working on adaptation, researchers came away from the meeting with a clear focus on how to hone the economic analysis component of their projects so they have the greatest impact.
The AARC initiative aims to build the capacity of African institutions to deliver timely scientific advice and expert assessments to policymakers across the continent. Building on previous innovative IDRC-funded research on climate change adaptation, this $10 million project—funded through the Government of Canada’s fast-start financing—is part of Canada’s commitment under the Copenhagen Accord. The AARC initiative is managed by IDRC's Climate Change and Water program.
Photo: IDRC/H. Braun
Abdoulaye Diarra, agricultural economist, and Beteo Zongo,
PhD student in Agricultural Economics, participate in the
workshop as reprentatives from International Institute for
Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Burkina Faso.
Photo (top): IDRC/S. Carter
AARC-supported researchers Khamaldin Mutambazi, Felix Nyamedor, Michael Okoti, and Henry Mahoo visit the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute's Katumani research station.