Author Archives: Katharine Vincent

Importance of FCFA work with tea farmers highlighted by Malawi heatwave

A recent heatwave in Malawi has highlighted the risk that climate change poses to the tea farming sector. Future Climate For Africa's CI4Tea project has been working with tea farmers and other sector stakeholders in the southern districts of Mulanje and Thyolo to co-produce decision-relevant climate information. Occurrence of consecutive very hot days, as was experienced at the end of October, was highlighted as a major concern. Evidence of leaf scorch and the inevitable impacts on yields have underlined the importance of planning for a changed future climate. CI4Tea's work has therefore been publicised on the Future Climate For Africa website and Climate Home News and accompanied by a short film on Climate Change and Tea: Challenges for Malawi and Kenya.

Kulima undertaking consultations to inform a Regional Strategy for Mainstreaming Gender in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation for IGAD

Dr Katharine Vincent is in Nairobi this week to undertake consultations with stakeholders to inform a Regional Strategy for Mainstreaming Gender in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region. This follows on from a consultative dialogue that she facilitated last week, attended by the gender, DRM and CCA focal points from the majority of the IGAD member states. After Nairobi she will travel to Uganda to continue consultations there. The assignment, in partnership with Cowater International, is due to be complete by March 2020.

Kulima participating in presentation of UMFULA project at the University of KwaZulu Natal

The UMFULA project (under the Future Climate For Africa programme) is holding meetings this week at the University of KwaZulu Natal in which Dr Katharine Vincent is participating. This includes supervision of Honours and Masters students researching water issues among commodity farmers and a writeshop to develop a paper on the use of weather and climate information by small-scale sugar contract farmers in Malawi. On Tuesday Katharine will participate in a Research on Tap Seminar at the Centre for Water Resources Research, together with Emma Archer, Rebecka Henriksson Malinga and several students, in which they will present some of the project's findings on the use of climate information in medium-term planning decisions and the case study in Malawi.

New WISER and Future Climate For Africa manual “Co-production in African Weather and Climate Services” with inputs from Kulima

The Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) and Future Climate For Africa (FCFA) programmes have just launched a new manual, Co-production in African weather and climate services. The manual, written by Suzanne Carter, Anna Steynor, Katharine Vincent, Emma Visman and Katinka Lund Waagsaether outlines building blocks and principles for co-production, distilled from a variety of experiences of co-producing weather and climate services across the continent. It is supplemented by a compendium of case studies from a range of different programmes. The manual concludes that, whilst co-production is often a resource intensive process and needs to be adequately supported both in terms of funding and time, the added value can result in significant benefits for weather and climate services.

New Grantham Research Institute working paper with inputs from Kulima-“Insurance as a catalyst for government climate planning?”

The Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment have just released a new working paper from the UMFULA project with inputs from Dr Katharine Vincent. The paper, Insurance as a catalyst for government climate planning? A framework for analysing drivers and barriers, tested against evidence emerging from Sub-Saharan Africa, explores how climate risk information emanating from insurance processes can support a move towards anticipatory climate risk management. Using information from insurers in Africa, as well as case studies of different types of insurance in Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa, it presents the underpinning political economy factors that influence the process of climate information uptake, highlighting that the clear scope for dynamic interaction between insurers and users can face many challenges that go beyond availability and suitability of data. These challenges include limited trust, unclear risk ownership or lack of incentives, even if there is motivation, risk-awareness and overall buy-in into the need to manage climate risks. All three cases show the importance of sustained engagement and capacity building to increase awareness of the role of insurance-related climate risk information and its potential benefits and uses.

‘The current and future climate of central and southern Africa: What we have learnt and what it means for decision-making in Malawi and Tanzania”-summary of UMFULA project released

After 4 years of research by a multi-disciplinary team and co-production in partnership with government staff, the UMFULA project has released a briefing note that discusses "The current and future climate of central and southern Africa: What we have learnt and what it means for decision-making in Malawi and Tanzania". It highlights how understanding the likely future characteristics of climate risk is a key component of adaptation and climate-resilient planning, but given future uncertainty it is important to design approaches that are strongly informed by local considerations and are robust to uncertainty. Choosing the right tools and approach for climate risk assessment and adaptation to suit the scale of the decision allows a suitable trade-off between robustness and resources  required (time and expertise) for analysis. In the medium term, policy decisions require careful cross-sectoral planning, particularly in cases involving large  investments, long life-times and irreversibility, where there is a strong argument for assessing resilience to future climate change (for example around water, energy and food in Malawi and Tanzania). Co-producing knowledge, as in UMFULA, contributes to building societal and institutional capacity to factor climate risks into long-term planning. It also builds the capacity of researchers to better understand real world decision contexts in which climate change is one of many important factors.

Kulima participating in UMFULA project writeshop in Pretoria

Dr Katharine Vincent is in Pretoria this week, joining colleagues Professor Andy Dougill from the University of Leeds and Professor Emma Archer from the University of Pretoria for a writeshop on the UMFULA project. As it comes to the end of its lifespan, they will synthesise key findings on climate information for medium-term planning in the water, energy and agriculture sectors for Malawi, taking into account the current policy and institutional context and information needs of the new National Planning Commission. 

New release “A guide to effective collaboration and learning in consortia” with inputs from Kulima

The BRACED programme, in partnership with Future Climate For Africa, CARIAA, PLACARD, Partners for Resilience and SHEAR, has just released A guide to effective collaboration and learning in consortia. Building resilience to rising climate risks, written by Bettina Koelle, Lucia Scodanibbio, Katharine Vincent, Blane Harvey, Maarten van Aalst, Sophie Rigg, Nicola Ward and Margot Curl. Reflecting their experiences in the partner programmes and beyond, the guide outlines 8 principles to build effective transdisciplinary collaborations, highlighting the roles for different parties at different stages throughout the intended lifespan of the collaboration. The guide is illustrated with vignettes, examples, and checklists.

New working paper led by Kulima “Creating useful and usable weather and climate information-Insights from Participatory Scenario Planning in Malawi

The Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment has just released a new working paper led by Dorothy Tembo-Nhlema and Katharine Vincent, with Rebecka Henriksson Malinga from the University of KwaZulu Natal. The paper, Creating useful and usable weather and climate information-Insights from Participatory Scenario Planning in Malawi, is an output of the Future Climate For Africa programme's UMFULA project. Based on qualitative research, it finds that advisories co-produced through the Participatory Scenario Planning process have been used by farmers to successfully reduce risk. However the scaling up and sustainability has been challenged by technical constraints relating to delays in the release of the national seasonal forecast and staff availability, and financial constraints which limit the extent to which the process can be carried out at district level. These challenges are reinforced by the lack of a policy framework.

IPCC SRCCL available for download

The latest IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land (full name-Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems) was released after plenary approval on 8th August 2019. The Summary for Policy Makers and all chapters are now available for download. Dr Katharine Vincent was a contributing author to chapter 4 on land degradation and the cross-chapter box 11 on gender in inclusive approaches to climate change, land, and sustainable development, which features in chapter 7 (p66).