Group says new framework would aid climate change adaptation

In Adamawa State, the heavy rainfalls caused floods that killed two people and ravaged properties worth millions of naira.

The new framework will aid countries adapt to climate change in a manner that will not affect economic developments.

New systems for tracking the social impacts of efforts to adapt to climate change could soon be in place in Africa and South Asia, the International Institute for Environment and Development, IIED, an independent, non-profit research institute has said. Working with policy and research partners in these regions, the Institute, (with partners Adaptify and Garama 3C Ltd) has designed tools and a framework that will enable countries to ensure their efforts to adapt to climate change does not hamper development.

“All countries need to adapt to climate change, but they need to be sure they do so in a way that does not harm their social and economic development,” Simon Anderson, head of IIED’s climate change group, said.

“The tools we have developed will allow countries to ensure that adaptation and development work hand-in-hand. Ultimately this will mean better management and more accountability in how investments in adaptation are made”.

“While most frameworks for evaluating responses to climate change assume that adaptation will neutralise harm and allow development to continue as planned, but this underestimates the real change needed to keep development on track,” he added.

IIED is presently engaging with governments of Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, and Pakistan to test the framework and tools as means to evaluate a range of climate adaptation activities. Government representatives and researchers joined IIED staff and other partners in Edinburgh this week to review the design for the feasibility testing arrangements and next steps.

According to Mr. Anderson, as governments and development partners begin to invest large sums of money in action to adapt to climate change, it is essential that they focus on adaptation’s contribution to long term development, and not just spend money on adaptation projects.

“Unless they can track adaptation and measure development outcomes there is a risk that funds will be poorly spent,” he said.

The new framework and tools that IIED and partners have developed will enable governments and development agencies to assess whether adaptation projects enhance or compromise development. They will measure how fairly the costs and benefits of such projects are distributed. And they will help to identify where to spend future investments.

The framework and tools – known collectively as the Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development, TAMD, Framework – can be tailored to suit individual country contexts, different sectors and at various scales. The framework is described in a new paper that IIED published this week.

IIED developed the TAMD framework with funding from the U.K’s Department for International Development. The project’s next steps will include tailoring TAMD to each of the five pilot countries and testing the framework in them at national and subnational levels. The organisation said it will publish a report from the meeting in April.

Climate change, referred to by some as global warming, has become a reality, with damaging effects on the environment. Seasonal cycles are disrupted, as are ecosystems; and agriculture, water needs and supply, and food production are all adversely affected.

Climate change also leads to sea-level rise with its attendant consequences, and includes severe weather, increased frequency and intensity of storms, floods, hurricanes, droughts, increased frequency of fires, poverty, scarcity, malnutrition and series of health and socio-economic consequences.

It has a cumulative effect on natural resources and the balance of nature, according to the BNRCC project, an organisation which aims to help build informed responses to climate change in Nigeria by enhancing capacity at the community, state and national levels to implement effective adaptation strategies, policies and actions.

“The impact of climate change can be vast. In Nigeria, this means that some stable ecosystems such as the Sahel Savanna may become vulnerable because warming will reinforce existing patterns of water scarcity and increasing the risk of drought in Nigeria and indeed most countries in West Africa” the organisation said, adding that the country’s aquatic ecosystems, wetlands and other habitats will create overwhelming problems for an already impoverished populace.

Last year, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, attributed the series of flood disasters the nation suffered to climate change. Muhammad Sani-Sidi, the Director General of NEMA said last year that the climatic condition and drastic change to whether pattern contributed to massive flooding witnessed in the most states in Nigeria where lives were lost and sources of livelihood worth billions of Naira were destroyed.

He said Nigeria must be environmentally conscious and build buffer dams where needed. He also said people in flood plains should move to higher grounds. He urged states, as well as local governments, to be serious about emergency management as there is the need to create awareness as well as build capacity, to reduce people’s vulnerability.

Research shows climate change is evidently linked to human actions, especially the burning of fossil fuels and changes in patterns of land use. There are also global predictions that global warming will be more intense in Africa, than in the rest of the world.

Experts say Nigeria is particularly vulnerable due to desert encroachment and threatened coastline, dependence on revenue from fossil fuel production and population based challenges. The low level of awareness and poor understanding of the risk and implications of our activities as a nation have hindered effective policy formulations.

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