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Introducing experiences from African pastoralist communities to cope with climate change risks, hazards and extremes: Fostering poverty reduction

Leal Filho, W and Taddese, H and Balehegn, M and Nzengya, D and Debela, N and Abayineh, A and Mworozi, E and Osei, S and Ayal, DY and Nagy, GJ and Yannick, N and Kimu, S and Balogun, AL and Alemu, EA and Li, C and Sidsaph, H and Wolf, F (2020) Introducing experiences from African pastoralist communities to cope with climate change risks, hazards and extremes: Fostering poverty reduction. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 50. ISSN 2212-4209

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Abstract

© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Pastoralist communities all over Africa have been facing a variety of social and economic problems, as well as climate risks and hazards for many years. They have also been suffering from climate change and extreme events, along with a variety of weather and climate threats, which pose many challenges to herders. On the one hand, pastoralist communities have little influence on policy decisions; however, on the other hand, they suffer to a significant extent from such policies, which limit their options for sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Also, the socio-cultural legacy of herders, and their role in food security and provision of ecosystem services, as well as their efforts towards climate change adaptation, are little documented, particularly in Eastern and Southern African countries. There is a perceived need for international studies on the risks and impacts of climate change and extreme events on the sustainability of pastoralist communities in Africa, especially in eastern and southern Africa. Based on the need to address this research gap, this paper describes the climate change risks and challenges that climate threats pose to the sustainability and livelihoods of pastoralist communities in eastern and southern Africa. Also, it discusses the extent to which such problems affect their well-being and income. Additionally, the paper reports on the socioeconomic vulnerability indices at country-level; identifies specific problems pastoralists face, and a variety of climate adaptation strategies to extreme events through field survey among pastoralist communities in a sample of five countries, namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The study has shown that the long-term sustainability of the livelihoods of pastoral communities is currently endangered by climate change and the risks and hazards it brings about, which may worsen poverty among this social group. The study suggests that a more systematic and structured approach is needed when assessing the climate vulnerability of individual pastoral communities, since this may help in designing suitable disaster risk reduction strategies. Moreover, the paper shows that it is also necessary to understand better the socio-ecological systems (SES) of the various communities, and how their livelihoods are influenced by the changing conditions imposed by a changing climate.

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