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This new edition of REEEP’s highly successful manual Linked Open Data: The Essentials offers a solid introduction to Linked Open Data (LOD) principles, with new case studies and updated information on how to make the most of the possibilities LOD has to offer. The manual is particularly targeted at knowledge brokers working in the climte change sector, with most of the examples and case studies focused on this area, but the general principles are broadly applicable to other disciplines and sectors.
This new working paper by Andrew Scott of ODI explores the effectiveness of governing for the “water-energy-food nexus” of issues. The author looks at approaches that understand the links between sectors, recognise these in decision-making and promote integrated policy-making.
The concept of the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus has become widely used to help understand interdependencies among the three systems, and how they can be managed sustainably to meet growing demand. The water–energy–food nexus has especially been advocated to address conflicts among the sectors. However, governance in the water–energy–food nexus has not received much attention in the literature, particularly the institutions and politics governing the water–energy–food sectors.
This paper synthesises findings from CDKN-supported action research in this area. The paper draws from findings in Indonesia, Kenya and the Amazon Basin to show that the effectiveness of the horizontal (cross-sectoral) and vertical (between levels of government) coordination that is essential for a nexus approach is determined by institutional relationships, which can be influenced by political economy factors. The capacity of governing organisations to understand nexus links and to collaborate with each other is also critical.
The paper suggests that aiming for the ideal of comprehensiveness and integration in a nexus approach may be costly and impractical. Nevertheless, horizontal and vertical coordination are essential. Local-level decision-making will determine how trade-offs and synergies in the water–energy–food nexus are implemented. The capacities of local government organisations and decision-makers need to be strengthened to enhance their capacity to adopt nexus approaches and coordinate vertically.
To improve preparedness and prevention of drought risks in the agricultural and pastoral communities around Lake Fitri in Chad, Solidarités International implemented a project between 2013 and 2016 that endeavoured to strengthen their capacities for resilience. One of the activities more specifically concerned women and addressed their need to access credit in order for them to launch merchant activities: Solidarités International supported the creation of 15 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA), based on the existing tontine model and inspired by VSL Associates’ methodology. The associations are made up of between 15 and 30 members, are presided over by internal regulations drawn up by its members and run for a cycle of 9 to 12 months. Members buy shares on a weekly basis and are able to take out a loan with interest for up to three times their individual total savings.
This case study presents the VSLA methodology in more details, and attempts to shed light on the socio-economic profile of the members (does the activity incorporate the poorest households?), on how the latter use the loans granted, on whether participation in a VSLA can improve the resilience of member households, and on the determinants of success.
Despite the fact that the informal economy accounts for about two thirds of GDP and 90% of employment in India , the informal economy seems absent from almost all discussions of any kind of low carbon revolution in the country. Does it play such a negligible role in pollution as many have assumed and would it be an obstacle to a low carbon revolution. This paper focuses on the sector’s own capacity to adopt the kind of technological and organisational changes that would be needed in order to innovate and asks whether and how innovation takes place in the informal economy.
Renewable energy technologies have experienced an exponential growth in South Africa, thanks to the procurement of large-scale power plants. However, South Africa’s electricity sector still lacks a level playing field. Significant vested interests have maintained overwhelming support for centralised, coal-based electricity generation, preventing the development of renewable energy technologies to their optimal potential. Active efforts are required to enhance the transformation of electricity supply in the country by truly incorporating the low-carbon transition in electricity planning, opening the policy space for the development of embedded generation, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
The electricity sector in South Africa is a highly contested space. The emergence of renewable energy technologies (along with energy efficiency and other demand-side management opportunities) has generated healthy revitalisation and disturbance of the status quo in the industry. Discussions around other technologies, such as gas-to-power and nuclear energy, are also adding to this vibrant dynamics. Significant vested interests are still at play alongside massive state support to maintain the domination of the coal industry over the electricity supply industry in South Africa.
Active efforts are required to provide a level playing field for all energy technologies and enhance the transformation of electricity supply in the country. This includes truly incorporating the low-carbon transition in electricity planning, open the policy space for the development of embedded generation and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
Geothermal development is on the rise in many regions of the world. However, the high costs of field development, coupled with the high risks associated with resource exploration and drilling, still pose a significant barrier to private sector financing.
Insurance can mitigate the risks to investors and increase flows of private finance to the industry.
A project by Parhelion, a private sector insurance and risk company focused on climate finance, funded by CDKN, aimed to improve the technical capacity of Kenya’s and Ethiopia’s local insurance industries for using geothermal risk mitigation instruments.
A consultative process with relevant stakeholders in these countries yielded insights and recommendations for international, multilateral and bilateral institutions that are looking to support geothermal resource development. The analysis was enriched by E3G’s expertise in analysing climate finance flows.
The study found that international, multilateral and bilateral institutions should:
For the Caribbean, climate change is not tomorrow’s problem. The threats it poses are neither distant nor abstract – they are already apparent. In recent years, hurricanes have caused major damage in countries such as Jamaica, Grenada and Cuba; severe flooding has hit Belize and Guyana; and droughts affect much of the east of the region. The small island state of Saint Lucia alone has faced 27 natural disasters between 1980 and 2008, with total economic damage reaching an estimated US$2.5 billion. The need for investment to build climate resilience in the Caribbean has never been greater.
These impacts are putting considerable strain on the finances of national governments, businesses and citizens, and threaten regional prosperity and development. The Commonwealth Expert Group on Climate Finance has said that climate change is already reversing some of the gains on poverty alleviation and economic growth that have been made in the Caribbean.
Over the past decade, research funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) has provided fresh insight into the nature of the climate threat to the Caribbean. Researchers have developed regionally downscaled climate change projections and climate visualisation tools providing information that can be used to make informed decisions at the subregional level. This information has been used in conjunction with a range of other tools, and has been applied to real-life situations in Caribbean nations including Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Barbados, Belize and Cuba.
Focusing on the agriculture and tourism sectors, this document identifies some of the most pressing issues and climate vulnerabilities facing Caribbean states. It makes the case that climate resilience investment by governments, businesses and development partners is urgently needed to
Climate change is one of the most significant challenges to the Caribbean’s future prosperity. The impacts of climate change on economically important sectors such as tourism, agriculture and fishing threaten Caribbean nations’ ability to achieve their economic and social development goals. By 2050, the costs to the region are expected to reach US$22 bn each year; this represents 10% of regional gross domestic product, based on 2004 figures. Paying for recovery efforts after natural disasters causes significant budgetary pressures and diverts funds from other pressing development issues such as health and education. However, responding to climate challenges is highly complex. Climate change has cross-cutting impacts that span sectors and spatial scales, and involves multiple stakeholders. Delivering effective climate change adaptation is therefore a question of governance.
Bottom-up, community-level approaches are important in meeting the challenges that climate change poses, but in isolation they are insufficient. National governance frameworks must foster community action, but also provide the enabling environment for large investments and transformative change at scale. The challenge that national governments face is to coordinate adaptation interventions at both national and local levels by engaging multiple organisations and individuals.
Targeted primarily at Caribbean policy-makers, this Information Brief draws on the experience of three CDKN-funded projects that have taken place in the region over the last decade. It identifies ‘best practice’ lessons on governance, highlights examples from applied case studies in Caribbean countries, and recommends tools and methods that can be applied to make governance frameworks more effective at delivering climate compatible development. It is also a gateway to the reports and tools that have been produced under these CDKN-funded projects.
This World Bank reports finds that water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could hinder economic growth, spur migration, and spark conflict. However, most countries can neutralize the adverse impacts of water scarcity by taking action to allocate and use water resources more efficiently.
The water–energy–food nexus is being promoted as a conceptual tool for achieving sustainable development. Frameworks for implementing nexus thinking, however, have failed to explicitly or adequately incorporate sustainable livelihoods perspectives. This is counterintuitive given that livelihoods are key to achieving sustainable development. In this paper we present a critical review of nexus approaches and identify potential linkages with sustainable livelihoods theory and practice, to deepen our understanding of the interrelated dynamics between human populations and the natural environment. Building upon this review, we explore the concept of ‘environmental livelihood security’ – which encompasses a balance between natural resource supply and human demand on the environment to promote sustainability – and develop an integrated nexus-livelihoods framework for examining the environmental livelihood security of a system. The outcome is an integrated framework with the capacity to measure and monitor environmental livelihood security of whole systems by accounting for the water, energy and food requisites for livelihoods at multiple spatial scales and institutional levels. We anticipate this holistic approach will not only provide a significant contribution to achieving national and regional sustainable development targets, but will also be effective for promoting equity amongst individuals and communities in local and global development agendas. [authors abstract]
This FAO note gives a brief introduction to the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus conceptual framework as a useful way to describe and address the complex and interrelated nature of our global resource systems. It puts forward WEF as a conceptual approach:
This World Water Assessment Programme Special Report brings together messages on water and climate change from the World Water Development Report 3: Water in a Changing World. Water in a Changing World shows that changes in our water resources are shaped to a great extent by a number of key externalities, among them climate change, and that decisions taken far from the conventionally defined water sector have a tremendous influence on water resources and how they are used or misused. The report also describes the dynamic linkages that interconnect changes in climate, the state of our water resources, demographic expansion and migration issues, food and energy shortages, and the continuing challenge of poverty. Rather than addressing these issues in isolation, it argues that a holistic approach is crucial if we are to solve the crises we face today and avoid worse crises tomorrow.
Llaunched by the Morroccan government at COP22 in Marrakech, the blue book aims to raise international awareness on the vulnerability of water in the context of climate change and the urgency of action. It also speaks in favor of merging both agendas of water and climate, in order to ensure a total integration of water in the negotiations on climate change.
The book also presents concrete actions in the water field to cope with the impact of climate variability, actions which have already been launched or are being implemented, including the Water for Africa initiative. It is organized around chapters that highlight the challenges of water, its positioning within the adaptation and mitigation set of actions, and the recommendations to the international water community for a better water resilience to climate change and ensure sustainable development.
Countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean urgently need financial support to green their power sectors and thereby implement their national climate action plans under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
This is the key finding from this survey of 79 countries conducted by the secretariat of the UNFCCC on behalf of the Nairobi Framework Partnership (NFP).
The central goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit the global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Transitioning the power sector to low carbon is crucial to meet this goal, as generating power using coal, gas and oil is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change.
The survey also found that whilst many countries are receiving some form of support to increase transparency (Measurement, Reporting and Verification) from international organizations, in most cases this support is not enough.
The survey clearly indicates that countries believe that making use of the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Standardized Baselines and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) can help them to achieve their climate action commitments.
The Asian and African regions were found to be the ones requiring most urgent support for the development of carbon markets and economic instruments for mitigation action.
This page provides guidance materials relating to RABIT: the Resilience Assessment Benchmarking and Impact Toolkit. This enables the measurement of resilience baselines, and also measurement of the impact on resilience of development interventions; particularly introduction of ICTs. It focuses on resilience in low-income communities.
In Mozambique, where agriculture accounts for more than 25 percent of gross domestic product and employs about 80 percent of the country’s workforce, climate change has potential to reduce production of key crops and jeopardize both macroeconomic stability and the livelihoods of millions of people.
Despite this, the country, with just 16 percent of arable land under cultivation, has great potential to expand the agriculture sector. This report considers both sides of the challenge, detailing the likely impact of climate changes on three key crops (soy, pigeon pea and sesame) and analyzing opportunities to manage those risks across the value chain. Focused on the four central provinces, the report concludes with concrete recommendations for decision-makers.
This study explored ways in which Mali’s 25-year old decentralized governance system empowers local government to help communities adapt to the changing climate. The findings suggest that local development plans hold promise as a vehicle for engaging communities and integrating adaptation into local development planning, but that more needs to be done to strengthen the process. Centered in the southern regions of Mopti, Koulikoro and Sikasso, where most livelihoods derive from farming and livestock, the study also found that decentralized governance creates particular opportunities to facilitate problem-solving across villages and build external linkages to NGOs, donors and others. Such relationships are important as households increasingly compete for water and land for grazing and farming, and trees for charcoal and fuelwood. With higher temperatures and decreasing rainfall likely in these regions in the future, effective management of natural resources is vital to maintaining livelihoods and minimizing conflict.
This report is a product of the collaboration between the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and the Earth System Governance Project, on policies for climate-smart agriculture. It synthesizes the findings of 15 scoping studies conducted by national consultants across Eastern and Southern Africa in order to analyze the barriers and opportunities for promoting climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in the region.
The study finds that the onset impacts of climate change (particularly droughts, floods, and other alterations in rainfall patterns, with their associated impacts on crop yields and livestock) are already being perceived both by formal experts and by rural populations across Eastern and Southern Africa. Yet, the promotion and uptake of CSA practices remain limited. All countries have examples of both traditional and research-based agricultural practices that can be deemed climate-smart, but they are not mainstreamed and still receive limited support. Some countries have developed National Climate Change Policies while others countries have National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) in place. However, such policies often lack adequate instruments to achieve the goals they set. Furthermore, they are not sufficiently connected across sectors. There is a clear need for greater policy coherence to avoid conflicts and create synergies. Furthermore, perverse incentives that hinder CSA implementation remain in place and need revision.
There is an urgent need for SouthSouth and North-South cooperation that promotes the endogenous technological development of Africa. For greater CSA uptake, it is also fundamental that smallholder farmers, particularly women and the youth, have greater participation in policy- and decision-making. Currently, most agricultural and climate change policies have been top-down and carried out through “one-way” extension services that tell farmers what to do and do not sufficiently listen to them. It is essential that institutions be revised to eliminate gender imbalances and incorporate the views, needs, interests and concerns of smallholders, who make up the majority of farmers in Africa.
All in all the author finds that Eastern and Southern Africa hold great potential for CSA, but this potential needs to be further explored.
Low Carbon Development: Key Issues is the first comprehensive textbook to address the interface between international development and climate change in a carbon constrained world.
It discusses the key conceptual, empirical and policy-related issues of low carbon development and takes an international and interdisciplinary approach to the subject by drawing on insights from across the natural sciences and social sciences whilst embedding the discussion in a global context.
UNEP and UNEP Risø Centre are engaged in providing financial and technical support to a number of countries working on Low Carbon Development Strategies (LCDS) and piloting Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). From this engagement it is evident that there is a strong need for clarification both of the underlying terminology and possible approaches, and development of more detailed guidance and tools to assist the national processes.
Several initiatives by national, bilateral and multilateral actors are attempting to bring about this clarification and improved understanding, essentially combining practical application with normative development, and providing the experiences as input to the political negotiations being conducted under the UNFCCC.
This UNEP primer aims to contribute to this clarification by presenting the basic principles, proposing some possible elements of a national LCDS and NAMA preparation process, and providing a template for NAMA articulation.
Shifting the global economy onto a 2°C trajectory implies a rapid shift of existing investment patterns and far reaching transformation in technology, infrastructure and practises, including the adoption of new financing and business models. A key challenge for developing countries is how to develop a national climate agenda that is fully integrated with development objectives so that the new paradigm balances social, economic and environmental objectives. This will be critical to ensuring a steady transition which will also be influenced by the structure of the economy and the wider political economy, existing institutional frameworks and priorities, domestic capacity and perceived risk for managing processes of change.
“National Financing Pathways” are put forward here as a concept that articulates the interdependencies between public, private and international sources of finance as a means of delivering scaled investment to support implementation of low emission and climate resilient development. The interplay between national policy objectives and institutional frameworks with various sources of finance can be considered as constituting a national finance ecosystem and so influencing the shape and pace of the financing pathway. Based on discussions with representatives in Chile, Colombia and Peru, this working paper identifies emerging issues that may influence a NFP and considers different frameworks and tools to develop such pathways.
This handbook reflects the content presented, and the discussions held, during the ClimaSouth LEDS Seminar held in Marrakech, on 16-17 April 2015. The handbook is intended as an introduction to the concept of Low-Emission Development Strategies (LEDS). It discusses steps towards developing such strategies, highlighting that low-emission development paths can achieve sustainable development, turning challenges into opportunities for national economies. The role of policy in achieving LEDS goals and the process for LEDS policy making are also presented, and examples of LEDS in Europe are provided. The aim of this handbook is to contribute to policy-makers’ and technicians’ efforts at addressing climate change management issues.
The productive use of electricity can support sustained poverty reduction by enabling the creation and improvement of income generating activities. However, in order to realise these positive impacts, the level of electricity access must be sufficient and enabling conditions beyond the electricity supply itself must be in place.
The relationship between electricity access provision and poverty reduction has been unclear and policymakers are seeking answers to the following questions:
The research presented in this report has sought to explore these questions through a review of existing literature and case studies in Kenya and India which looked at the policy and regulatory regime in each country, and included stakeholder interviews and field research. The Literature Review and Case Study reports are available seperately from the Practical Action website.
The authors of this Nature Climate Change Perspective article argue that Northern (developed country) domination of science relevant to climate change policy and practice, and limited research led by researchers in Southern developing countries, may be hindering further development and implementation of global climate change agreements and nationally appropriate actions. They acknowledge that some efforts have been made to address the divide but argue that progress has been slow. The article illustrates the extent of the divide, reviews underlying issues and analyses their consequences for climate change policy develop-ment and implementation. The authors propose a set of practical steps that a wide range of actors should take at global, regional and national scales to address this knowledge divide, with examples of some actions already being implemented.
The recent emphasis on the provision of modern energy services as an important ingredient for development has improved finance availability for the goal of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL).
However, existing financial flows are still insufficient to meet the target of universal access of sustainable energy by 2030 and often ignore poor people, who cannot afford the service, or those renewable energy technologies that cannot offer high rates of return.
Drawing on a large dataset of official development assistance and private investment for electrification between 1990 and 2012, our research has looked at the factors that explain donor and private finance in the electricity sector of developing countries. What lessons can be taken and shared with policymakers to avoid past mistakes and target countries and technologies that have been neglected in previous efforts?
Is Kenya on track to follow an electrification strategy that is green and pro-poor? What are the main challenges to following this path? The two questions guiding this study are particularly relevant in a country with exceptional renewable energy resources, but where 80 per cent of the population lacks access to electricity and 50 per cent lives in poverty.
This study looks at four particular issues relating to access to green electricity for the poor: accessibility; commercial viability for project developers; financial sustainability for the State; and affordability. We will focus on grid electricity and mini-grids. For grid-connected generation, once electricity is fed to the grid, the issues of accessibility and affordability for the poor depend on national policies determining who gets electricity and at what price, making it impossible to differentiate between green and non-green electricity.
However, our study will show whether or not on-grid renewable generation can be financially sustainable in Kenya while providing affordable fees. For off-grid electricity, targeting the poor is a matter of situating generation capacity in the right places and affordability is a matter of setting prices that allow for cost recovery without being excessively expensive for the poor.
This report can support decision-making for development and climate finance institutions, as well as private investors in Kenya seeking a pro-poor green electrification strategy. It shows how to target the poor, which electrification alternatives to use, at what price, whether or not this is commercially viable and which policies would be required to make it so.
This paper aims to inform policy looking to step up investment in the electricity sector of developing countries and align it to other development goals such as universal access to energy or sustainability.
Three questions guide the analysis:
These questions are addressed by describing finance flows during the period 1990–2010 and performing an econometric analysis to explain inter-country allocation.
Electricity improves users’ quality of life and can enable income generation when used for productive activities, hence supporting an escape from the poverty trap. Where generation comes from renewable sources, it also makes a positive contribution to low-carbon development; for many, this is a classic ‘win-win’ situation.
This report uses the evidence collected through a comprehensive literature review to develop a policy tool to maximise the poverty impact of electrification projects. It can be of use for development and climate finance institutions funding renewable energy projects in developing countries, and keen to enhance the poverty impacts of these projects.
On 19 and 20 March 2014 IDS convened an e-discussion on ‘strengthening the poverty impact of renewable electricity investments’. The event sought to instigate a global dialogue on what is required to maximise the poverty impact of clean electricity investments, as well as inform ongoing IDS work on this topic.
The e-discussion was structured around three threads:
This note summarises the contributions made by different participants in the e-discussion. It generalises the points most commonly raised around each thread and reflects specific points of strong consensus or contestation, but without identifying specific contributors by name. It also provides a project team reflection on how valuable the event was for our research and why.
Smallholder farmers in Uganda face a wide range of agricultural production risks, with climate change and variability presenting new risks and vulnerabilities. Climate related risks such as prolonged dry seasons have become more frequent and intense with negative impacts on agricultural livelihoods and food security.
This paper assesses farmers’ perceptions of climate change and variability and analyses historical trends in temperature and rainfall in two rural districts of Uganda in order to determine the major climate-related risks affecting crop and livestock production and to identify existing innovative strategies for coping with and adapting to climate-related risks, with potential for up-scaling in rural districts. The traditional coping strategies that have been developed by these communities overtime provide a foundation for designing effective adaptation strategies.
Drought, disease and pest epidemics, decreasing water sources, lack of pasture, bush fires, hailstorms, changes in crop flowering and fruiting times were the major climate-related risks reported across the two districts. Farmers use a wide range of agricultural technologies and strategies to cope with climate change and climate variability. Mulching, intercropping and planting of food security crops were among the most common practices used. Other strategies included water harvesting for domestic consumption, other soil and water conservation technologies and on-farm diversification. Farmers often use a combination of these technologies and practices to enhance agricultural productivity. The average maximum temperatures increased across the two districts. Trends in average annual rainfall showed mixed results with a general decline in one district and a relatively stable trend in the other district. Perceived changes in climate included erratic rainfall onset and cessation, which were either early or late, poor seasonal distribution of rainfall and little rainfall. Farmers also reported variations in temperatures. Farmers’ perception of changing rainfall characteristics and increasing temperatures were consistent with the observed historical climatic trends from meteorological data.
The analysis supports several recommendations for improving the supply, delivery, and iterative feedback and improvement of climate services in Malawi:
This summary of CCAFS baseline findings from Malawi reveals the current state of climate information use at the local level, gaps and needs of farmers before they can benefit from improved science-based climate information, identifying the role of ICTs and rural radio to reach marginalized rural communities. It is hoped that these findings will offer valuable insights to the GFCS Adaptation Program in Africa, and future projects working to scale up relevant climate services for farmers and pastoralists in the country.
This report reflects upon the consolidated findings from the baseline and scoping studies conducted under the auspices of Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Adaptation Programme in Africa. It identifies gaps in climate information access and use at the local level, type of climate services farmers and pastoralists need in Tanzania, relevant channels to reach farmers with requested services, lead-time and gender specific requirements.
The analysis supports several recommendations for improving the supply, delivery, and iterative feedback and improvement of climate services in Tanzania:
It is hoped that these findings will offer valuable insights to the GFCS Adaptation Program in Africa, and future projects working to scale up relevant climate services for farmers and pastoralists in Tanzania.
Livestock as a sector is extremely important to the global economy and to rural livelihoods. As of 2013, there was an estimated 38 billion livestock in the world, or five animals for every person. Most (81%) were in developing countries. Around one billion smallholder farmers keep livestock, many of them women. The burden of animal disease in developing countries is high: livestock disease probably kills 20% of ruminants and more than 50% of poultry each year causing a loss of approximately USD 300 billion per year. Climate change can exacerbate disease in livestock, and some diseases are especially sensitive to climate change. Among 65 animal diseases identified as most important to poor livestock keepers, 58% are climate sensitive. Climate change may also have indirect effects on animal disease, and these may be greater than the direct effects.
In order to address climate impacts on this sector, this paper makes the following recommendations:
The purpose of this working paper is to provide insight into how we can use novel approaches to scale up research findings on climate-smart agriculture (CSA) to meaningfully address the challenges of poverty and climate change. The approaches described include those based on value chains and private sector involvement, policy engagement, and information and communication technologies and agro-advisory services. The paper draws on 11 case studies to exemplify these new approaches to scaling up. These are synthesised using a simple conceptual framework that draws on a review of the most important challenges to scaling up. This provides the material for a discussion around how particular scaling up approaches can help to address some of the challenges of scaling up. The analysis offers insights into scaling approaches, challenges and some opportunities for scaling CSA practices and technologies.
The authors conclude that multi-stakeholder platforms and policy making networks are key to effective upscaling, especially if paired with capacity enhancement, learning, and innovative approaches to support decision making of farmers. Projects that aim to intervene upstream at higher leverage points can be highly efficient and probably offer cost-effective dissemination strategies that reach across scales and include new and more diverse partnerships. However, these novel approaches still face challenges of promoting uptake, which remain contextualized and thus require a certain level of local engagement, while continuously paying attention to farmer’s needs and their own situations.
This study was undertaken in Wote division, Makueni district, Eastern province, Kenya, to test the effectiveness of different methods of communicating downscaled seasonal climate forecast information, and to assess its impact on management and productivity of smallholder farms. The communication methods tested include training workshops aimed at helping farmers understand downscaled probabilistic climate forecast information, agro-advisories that combined forecast information with advice on potential management options, and a combination of training and agro-advisory workshops. The study was conducted with about 120 farmers, 10 from each of 12 villages selected randomly from the villages that are within a 5 km radius from Kampi Ya Mawe research station for which long-term climate records are available, during the 2011-2012 short rain season. Three surveys, implemented during the pre-, mid-, and end-season periods, captured changes in management, productivity, and attitudes, associated with the provision of climate information.
Relative to the control sample, farmers with access to enhanced climate information reduced their cropped area, invested in more intensive crop management, and achieved higher yields with attractive returns on investment relative to farmers in control villages. Farmers from treatment villages also demonstrated appreciation of the role of climate information in planning and managing farm activities, higher satisfaction with the season, and strong interest in receiving climate information on a regular basis. This interest was demonstrated by their willingness to pay a modest amount for the service if required.
The evaluation was disaggregated by gender. Gender influenced adjustments to crop mix in response to climate information, with women preferring short-duration legumes. Gender did not appear to affect the subjective value put on climate information, or willingness to pay.