“How can we survive when facing floods and droughts? We need to find other means (than agriculture) of survival,” stated local inhabitants of Village #14 in Zambia’s Copperbelt Province during a community-based climate change risk assessment exercise. This exercise was held by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in collaboration with its member organization IISD and its partner organization CIFOR.
Village #14 was one of the seven communities in Zambia participating in climate change vulnerability assessments that were undertaken as part of a Finland-funded Climate Change and Development pilot phase project. The results of the analyses revealed that communities are well aware of the climatic changes but the factors underlying these changes are not commonly known. Communities have strategies to cope during the times of extreme climate events, but these come often with high socioeconomic and environmental costs, such as increased poverty and deforestation due to charcoal burning.
Variability is a common feature of Zambian climate, which has a history of droughts and floods. The current climate change predictions estimate that both of these phenomena will increase in the future. In Zambia this will especially affect small scale farmers normal farming cycles will be disrupted by both droughts and floods; as a consequence, they will heavily rely on access to alternative natural resources from forests and wetlands during these periods.
The findings of the community-based analyses together with the international scientists’ latest predictions will feed into a full-size pan-African project on climate change adaptation. This project puts special emphasis on forests and water and is currently being developed by the IUCN Regional Offices for Southern and East Africa, and the Water and Forest Conservation Programmes.
Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment in Zambia [PDF]
IUCN Regional Office for Southern Africa: www.iucnrosa.org/
IUCN Water Programme: www.iucn.org/water/
IUCN Forest Conservation Programme: www.iucn.org/forest/