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Climate change in eastern and southern Africa: impacts, vulnerability and adaptation

In its most recent assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that all of Africa is likely to warm during this century, with the drier subtropical regions warming more than the moist tropics. Annual rainfall is likely to decrease throughout most of the region, with the exception of eastern Africa, where annual rainfall is projected to increase. These changes in the physical environment are expected to have an adverse effect on agricultural production, including staple crops such as millet and maize. This report highlights five key themes that are important efforts aimed at addressing  climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation in eastern and southern Africa.

The authors argue that a suite of strategies are needed that will address the factors that generate vulnerability. Responses must be both anticipatory and rapid, and focus on societal transformations so that individuals, communities and regions can cope with and adapt to the risks associated with climate change. Key themes highlighted include:

  • climate change poses serious threats and challenges to eastern and southern Africa
  • climate change interacts with many other types of changes
  • vulnerability to climate change is differential
  • indigenous strategies are insufficient to cope with the effects of climate change
  • societal transformations are altering the context for adapting to climate change.