Tag Archives: climate information

“Understanding gender differences in availability, accessibility and use of climate information among smallholder farmers in Malawi” New paper from the UMFULA project with inputs from Kulima

A new paper "Understanding gender differences in availability, accessibility and use of climate information among smallholder farmers in Malawi" has just been published in Climate and Development. The paper, led by Dr Rebecka Henriksson with inputs from Katharine Vincent, is an output of the Future Climate For Africa UMFULA project. Ensuring smallholder farmers have access to climate information is important to enable adaptation, but access to it is strongly gendered. This study shows that both women prefer radio to access forecasts, but that women also like to access forecasts through a knowledge broker. Those farmers with higher levels of education (mostly men) prefer to also obtain forecasts via internet and cell phone. Understanding gendered preferences and barriers to climate information access is crucial for benefits of adaptation to be accessed equitably.

“Re-balancing climate services for climate-resilient planning” New paper from the UMFULA project, led by Kulima

A new paper "Re-balancing climate services to inform climate-resilient planning – A conceptual framework and illustrations from sub-Saharan Africa" has just been published in Climate Risk Management. The paper, led by Dr Katharine Vincent, is an output of the Future Climate For Africa UMFULA project. UMFULA aimed to increase the availability and use of medium-term climate information for decision-making in central and southern Africa. Whilst the climate services field has placed a lot of emphasis on generating information that is useful and usable to decision-makers, the "usability gap" has persisted. The paper argues for more attention to be paid to enablers that need to be in place to ensure that useful and usable information is actually used. These enablers include supportive institutions, appropriate policy frameworks, capacity of individuals and agency to make decisions. 

FCFA launches a critical reflection on learning from its activities-with inputs from Kulima

Future Climate FCFA learningFor Africa has launched "A critical reflection on learning from the FCFA programme." The report is led by Julio Araujo, Blane Harvey and Ying-Syuan (Elaine) Huang, with inputs from a wider team, including Kulima director Katharine Vincent. It highlights the nature of collective learning, experiences of leadership and capacity development and knowledge co-production and research uptake over the four years of applied research on improving climate information for use in medium-term (5-40 year) planning, which was undertaken by the five consortia under FCFA, including UMFULA-in which Kulima was a partner. It recommends that flexibility should be built into programme design, transforming research and knowledge mobilisation practice, investing in Southern leadership and capacity, and evaluating impacts.

New report-Enabling climate science use to better support resilience and adaptation practice-with inputs from Kulima

A new report – Enabling climate science use to better support resilience and adaptation practice. Rapid evidence assessment for the CLARE programme – has been released. The report was commissioned as part of a series of scoping reports to inform the design of DFID's forthcoming Climate and Resilience Framework (CLARE) programme, and written by a team convened by LTS International, including Kulima director, Katharine Vincent. The rapid evidence scan aimed to answer the question "Within the process of enabling climate science to better support resilience and adaptation practice and achieve internationally agreed commitments, what is working and what is missing in its use, and which people and institutions are key contributors in this field?” It finds differences in timeframes of consideration of weather and climate information, and an ongoing persistent communication gap that impedes effective use in decision-making.

UMFULA project produces country brief “How can we improve the use of information for a climate-resilient Malawi?” with inputs from Kulima

The UMFULA project under the Future Climate For Africa programme has summarised the findings of its research in Malawi into a country brief (How can we improve the use of information for a climate-resilient Malawi?), aimed to inform decision-makers on how climate infromation can be used to build a resilient Malawi. Malawi’s geographical location, between the east and southern African climate systems, means that future climate (particularly rainfall) is challenging to predict accurately – although there are areas of agreement in climate models, notably higher temperatures and higher likelihood of extreme weather events. Given future uncertainty, it is important to design robust management options that work across the plausible range of future climate conditions. This is especially the case for large investments with long life-times, significant impacts and irreversibility, such as water-related infrastructure (e.g. hydropower or irrigation) and agricultural investments in crop-breeding. The recently-finalised National Resilience Strategy provides a policy framework to enable this, but there is also a need for coherence between sectoral policies (for example relating to agriculture, irrigation, water and energy), which requires a more supportive institutional environment for sustainable and resilient decision-making.

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 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.