Research and analysis

Kulima prides itself on reseach-based consulting that is informed by the latest theoretical and conceptual developments in the academic and grey literature.  Both Katharine and Tracy have strong academic backgrounds, with Katharine currently holding a visiting Associate Professorship at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and Tracy having spent 13 years as a lecturer in the Department of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, also at the University of the Witwatersrand.  Both are currently serving on the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (Katharine as a Lead Author on the rural areas chapter and Contributing Author on the Africa chapter; and Tracy as a Contributing Author on the rural areas chapter). They also publish regularly in the peer-reviewed literature.

Projects involving significant research and analysis that we have conducted include:


-Climate change, health, agriculture and disasters in Mozambique

The project, funded by CDKN, was requested by the Government of Mozambique, who are keen to fill the data gap in research around how climate change will intersect with health status to create vulnerability to disasters in agricultural communities.  Led by a steering committee comprising representatives from the Ministry of Health (MISAU), Ministry for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs (MICOA), Food Security and Nutrition Secretariat (SETSAN) and the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), the project looks at the intersection between climate change and health in the context of Mozambique.  It is being implemented in conjunction with colleagues at the CSIR and Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo.

-African Development Report 2012: Technology Transfer

In partnership with Dr Rob Byrne from Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, Katharine Vincent co-authored a paper on technology transfer for the 2012 African Development Report.  The paper assesses the environment for technology transfer in Africa, in terms of constraints, opportunities and existing policies, and focuses on energy technologies.

-PROVIA guidance document on methods for climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessment

Kulima is working with an international team of experts from with SYKE (the Finnish Environment Institute), Stockholm Environment Institute and Global Climate Forum to revise the guidance on how to conduct impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessment for the Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation.  A draft of the guidance is available, with the final version due in 2013.  It is intended that this guidance will complement that produced by the UNFCCC targeted at the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

-Vulnerability assessment of East African eco-regions (USAID)

As part of the project to assess the costs imposed by climate change in three eco-regions of East Africa, Kulima undertook a review of existing vulnerability assessments for the region.


-Producing a background paper on the UNFCCC climate negotiations and South Africa's engagement to date

Kulima were invited by the Centre for Development and Enterprise to produce a background paper on the climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and South Africa's engagement with the climate change issue.  The paper provides an overview of climate science and the emergence of consensus, future climate projections and potential impacts, the emergence and evolution of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, and South Africa's policy commitments to date, including the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios, National Climate Change Response Strategy, and carbon tax.

-Assessing the sustainability of a food security disaster risk reduction intervention in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique

Recognising that disasters such as floods and cyclones typically ruin crops before harvest, an ECHO-DIPECHO project in 2011 supported the use of early maturing crop varieties in flood and cyclone-prone areas in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique.  Use of early maturing varieties by farmers in hazard prone areas acts as a food security disaster risk reduction intervention in several ways.  Firstly, the shorter time required for the crop to reach maturity reduces the likelihood of crop loss due to  floods, cyclones and other natural hazards. Through attainment of early maturity, the crop is able to escape the peak hazard period.  Secondly, the short growing period required for such crop varieties could make it possible to produce a second crop on the same piece of land, thereby intensifying production and increasing yields.  The project implementer, FAO, commissioned Kulima to undertake a qualitative assessment of the sustainability of this intervention, in terms of whether farmers are willing and able to repurchase early maturing seed after three planting seasons (in terms of availability and affordability).

-Overcoming the barriers: How to ensure future food production under climate change in southern Africa

As part of its GROW campaign, Oxfam GB commissioned Kulima and the Climate Systems Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town to investigate how farmers have responded to current and past climate variability, and the extent to which these responses might be sustainable to ensure continued production levels under projected future climate change.  In addition to reviewing existing climate change and crop model projections, the study involved interviewing over 200 small-scale and large-scale farmers and agricultural labourers in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  Katharine and Tracy oversaw the research process, conducted in each country by a different Kulima associate, and led the production of the final report.

-Vulnerability assessment within the Limpopo river basin (Gaza and Inhambane provinces), Mozambique (INGC, 2011)

As part of a project to undertake a vulnerability assessment and assess adaptation options for the Limpopo river basin in Mozambique (Gaza and Inhambane provinces), Kulima analysed existing literature and assessed the social vulnerability of communities to projected changes in water availability and crop production.

-Vulnerability assessment of East African eco-regions (USAID, 2011)

As part of the project to assess the costs imposed by climate change in three eco-regions of East Africa, Kulima undertook a review of existing vulnerability assessments for the region.