Paradigm shift needed in climate change fighting, Africa told
Published 14th October 2010 - 0 comments - 660 views -
By Ochieng' Ogodo
[ADDIS ABABA] There is need for urgent paradigm shift in the way Africa is approaching adaptation to climate change if the most vulnerable people, majority of whom form the bulk of the continents population, are to be helped to cope.
Dr. Anthony Nyong, Manager, Compliance and Safeguard Division of the African Development Bank said African people collect data which is in turn put into information but never transformed into in knowledge that can help people cope up.
“At the conceptual and philosophical levels we have different concepts making it difficult to move in the same direction on adaptation,” he told Stakeholders consultations on the UNEP-Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Climate Change Adaptation Collaborative Programme on Monday.
The UNEP-Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) meeting preceded the Pre Seventh Africa Development Forum: Acting on Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa October 12-15.
According to Nyong late change adaptation activities are not rooted in development and will never gather momentum. “NAPAS,” he said, “have failed because those involved in adaptation in ministries of water and agriculture were not included in planning.” All, he emphasised, boils down to lack of understanding how it flows and what adaptation means.
Nyong said that 85 percent of funding coming to Africa for adaptation was going to capacity building.
“Africa is the most capacitated continent in the world. 85 percent of the money coming to Africa is used for capacity building in hotels when nobody has ever built capacity in a hotel,” he said.
He said there is a lot of indigenous knowledge on both adaptation and mitigation-treated as one under IK-which scientists should tap into tap into instead writing papers and studies that never translate into tangible process for poor and vulnerable to adapt.
The people who do agroforestry or mixed cropping does not know the difference between adaptation and mitigation and these are artifact from us scientists,” he said.
He said adaptation and mitigation are done household level and that is here where the bulk of resources and knowledge should be directed to. “Resources are being out in climate change programmes are minuscule and this end up in studies leaving out the real issues and if Africa is to adapt then it must change the way it is doing things,” he told the meeting.
“When will Africa do the real work on adaptation and not pilot projects by scientists,” he posed. Knowledge, he said, does not have to be western driven. Indigenous knowledge is important
Dr. Liser Schipper, Senior Research Fellow at SEI said their collaboration with UNEP which is yet to be rolled out was aimed at creating better knowledge needed to be able to adapt and to also focus on ecosystem-based Adaptation.
She told the meeting that among their objectives is the building and strengthening capacity of the most vulnerable people to adapt to climate change through ecosystem-based adaptation but most immediate one being help selected institutions at local and national level in developing countries have the organisational capacity to sustainably manage the environment for sound development planning and practice in adapting to climate risks and climate change. “We need better knowledge to adapt but there are limitations,” she said adding that “the collaborating is to focus on ecosystem-based adaptation to help people adapt.” For instance, she said, in coastal areas they aim at building peoples capacity to adapt to rising sea level.
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