Africa is “ground zero” for vulnerability to climate variability and change because of its overall low level of adaptive capacity. Any increases in frequency and severity of climate related events such as floods, drought, heat waves, etc. would only increase the risk of disasters. However, climate relevant information in Africa is, in general, very scattered and with low resolution, and characterized by significant uncertainties. Further, the capacity of relevant stakeholders to collect, process and deliver appropriate climate related information is, overall, limited.
To help address this situation, UNESCO IHP and its drylands water resources program, G-WADI, organized a Technical Workshop on Climate Change Risk, Vulnerability Assessment and Early Warning for Africa at the AGRHYMET Regional Center, Niamey, Niger on 13-16 June 2017. ICIWaRM, the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, AGRHYMET, USAID’s West Africa Regional Office and the Flemish UNESCO Fund for Science co-organized or supported the meeting.
Participants came from regional centers in East, West and Southern Africa, and African river basin organizations, water ministries and universities. Most of them shared case studies from their own countries on topics such as climate risk management and adaptation, early warning systems, disaster risk reduction, and climate vulnerability assessment methodologies, techniques and tools. The workshop also engaged in a science-policy dialogue and developed a set of recommendations for improved water security in the participating countries.
A meeting of the Sub-Saharan regional network of G-WADI was held on the last day. Some of the recommendations were fleshed out, and a regional plan was developed. This included workshops on using the African Flood and Drought Monitor, pilot studies on regional frequency analysis (a “drought atlas”), and a future meeting on water harvesting in Africa.