Climate risk analyses launched at COP28 and SNRD Conference

Left: Timothée Kagonbé (National NDC Coordinator and UNFCCC Focal Point for Cameroon) | Right: Nele Gloy (PIK researcher), Timothée Kagonbé, Felicitas Röhrig (BMZ) and Prof. Joseph Armathé Amougou (ONACC)

The climate risk analysis for Cameroon was prominently launched in the COMIFAC (Commission des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale) Pavilion at COP28 in Dubai. Key stakeholders from Cameroon, including the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED) and the National Observatory on Climate Change (ONACC), discussed together with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) how the results of the study could be used, what role science plays in designing targeted adaptation strategies and how multi-stakeholder collaboration can maximise adaptation efforts. The climate risk analysis for Cameroon aimed to assess climate impacts on maize, cocoa and cassava, along with trends in deforestation, which have important implications for land-use planning in the country. Additionally, the study focused on the evaluation of improved seeds, agroforestry and soil management as adaptation strategies, which were selected together with local stakeholders. Moreover, the change in grassland productivity and the role of gender and other intersecting social factors were examined for a holistic climate risk assessment.

In addition to COP28, the three climate risk analyses were launched at the Sector Network Rural Development (SNRD) Africa Conference on October 10th, 2023, with an active audience who contributed many relevant comments and questions both on site and online. The climate risk analysis for Uganda focused on two crops – coffee and maize – and followed a value chain approach, analysing climate impacts and possible adaptation strategies along the entire agricultural value chain. In the case of Zambia, the climate risk analysis evaluated climate impacts on sorghum, maize and groundnut, and the potential of conservation agriculture and early warning systems as adaptation strategies. The analysis considered the risk mitigation potential of these adaptation strategies, their respective cost-effectiveness, financing options and the role of gender in adaptation efforts.

Since its inception in 2018, AGRICA developed 9 climate risk analyses and 16 climate risk profiles for selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the project is coming to an end this year, PIK and BMZ already embarked on a new phase of collaboration, focusing more in-depth on climate impacts and adaptation in coffee value chains in the project AfriValue.

All climate risk analyses and climate risk profiles can be downloaded here.

Minister Svenja Schulze and PIK highlight the importance of increasing research on Loss and Damage

Minister Svenja Schulze and PIK highlight the importance of increasing research on Loss and Damage
From left to right: Melinda Crane (host), Christoph Gornott (Working Group Leader, PIK), Yositha Wijenayake (Attorney-at-law, Executive Director SLYCAN Trust Global), Niels Holm-Nielsen (Head of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) at the World Bank), Abena Takyiwaa Asamoah-Okyere (Office of the Minister of Finance, Ghana) and Khadeeja Naseem (Minister of State for Environment, Climate Change and Technology of the Maldives, not in the picture) (Picture source: ©Photothek/Janine Schmitz).

After years of derailing the political discussion of Loss and Damage (L&D) last year’s United Nations (UN) climate negotiations reached a momentous conclusion on setting up L&D funding arrangements including a L&D fund. Since then there have been several meetings by the Transitional Committee (TC) to operationalise the funding architecture and the topic was further negotiated at the Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB58) beginning of June.

Losses and damages manifest in different ways on the ground. Consequences of climate change can already be quantified by attribution science and climate-impact modelling such as changes in many climate extremes and their impacts, both in terms of individual events and long-term trends. Besides economic losses and damages, there are also non-economic losses and damages (NELDs) – such as those of human lives or cultural assets – that are difficult to quantify. Among other discussions on who should pay into the fund, who should be able access it and how it should be governed, the TC is currently investigating the different ways on how to integrate losses and damages incurring from slow-onset events such as sea level rise as opposed to individual extreme events and NELDs.

In the light of the recent advances, last month’s Berlin Insights Series opened up the dialogue on how research can support in addressing L&D. At the event, Federal Minister of Development Svenja Schulze (BMZ) and Professor Johan Rockström (PIK), highlighted the importance of research on L&D for strengthening the evidence-base in partner countries. Federal Minister Svenja Schulze emphasized how much her ministry values the cooperation with PIK and how glad she is the topic of L&D finally gets the attention it deserves “At the last years COP in Sharm El-Sheikh, the international communicated decided to create new financial arrangements, this included a fund to address Loss and Damage. This was a breakthrough in the history of climate negotiations and an important signal of solidarity and global climate justice”.

The event brought together stakeholders from the political space, academia, finance, civil society, and practice in a panel discussion: Khadeeja Naseem (Minister of State for Environment, Climate Change and Technology of the Maldives), Christoph Gornott (Working Group Leader, PIK), Yositha Wijenayake (Attorney-at-law, Executive Director SLYCAN Trust Global), Niels Holm-Nielsen (Head of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) at the World Bank) and Abena Takyiwaa Asamoah-Okyere (Office of the Minister of Finance, Ghana), who shared their view and experience on the topic.

Minister of State Khadeeja Naseem made the detrimental effects of losses and damages clear: “Our islands are made on top of coral reefs. So the marine life in the oceans sustains us. The reefs protect us. They provide food. They give us income. And when the reefs die, the Maldives will cease to exist.”

Professor Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research added: “It is not possible to put monetary value on losing your home. losing your home is a complete, unacceptable disaster. Mitigation and resilience is the […] first resort. And Loss and Damage is the last resort. Loss and Damage is fundamentally a failure.”

Research plays a crucial role: “We need to act integrated across the whole sphere of mitigation and resilience building to avoid unmanageable adaptation and therefore also escalating losses and damages. At the same time, we need to have a bridge between the climate science and attribution to be able to help policy makers, governments, to be able to handle losses & damages in a humane and just way” according to Prof. Rockström.

The Berlin Insights Series on Climate Change and Development provides more detailed insights into the deepened cooperation between the BMZ and PIK. The Series serves as a forum for dialogue among policymakers, scientists, and practitioners, with a view to fostering exchange about the challenges of climate change in the Global South. One of the flagship projects of the past years of the cooperation has been the AGRICA project, through which BMZ and PIK have provided several climate risk analyses for different countries in sub-Saharan Africa. AGRICA is anchored in the PIK RD2 working group Adaptation in Agricultural Systems which is lead by Prof. Christoph Gornott and Dr. Lisa Murken. The working group is also working on climate impact attribution and Loss and Damage.

PIK and GIZ hold validation workshop in Zambia

The overall objective of the workshop was to present and validate the results of the climate risk analysis for adaptation planning in Zambia. Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ministry of Finance and National Planning (MoFNP), Ministry of Green Economy and Environment (MGEE), Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation (MWDS), Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (MFL) as well as other relevant stakeholders from politics, science and civil society were invited to discuss and comment on the results of the climate risk analysis and their implications for adaptation planning.

The workshop was formally opened by Kristin Otto, Deputy Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and Madame Peggy Mlewa, Director for Policy and Planning at the MoA.

Participants of the validation workshop in Lusaka, Zambia.

Dr. Rahel Laudien from PIK summarized the key findings of the climate risk analysis for adaptation planning in Zambia: Climate change in Zambia will cause temperatures to rise between 2°C and 4°C by 2100 and extreme weather conditions will increase. In this context, the southwest will be more affected by climate change than the northeast of Zambia. These changes will affect agricultural production as suitable cropland will decrease and shift northward, and sorghum yields will decrease. In addition, the study examines examples of suitable adaptation strategies such as conservation agriculture and early-warning systems. Conservation agriculture is a cropping system that promotes minimal soil disturbance, maintenance of permanent soil cover, and crop species diversification. It can mitigate the effects of climate change and increase sorghum yields. Early-warning systems based on site-specific climate and weather information, paired with local knowledge, allow farmers to anticipate climate risks and make informed decisions about their agricultural practices, leading to higher yields and thus improved food security. The study also highlights different feasible and cost-effective options for financing climate adaptation measures through national, international, public, and private sources. Further, the study notes that climate change impacts are not gender-neutral and that different groups have different adaptive capacities. Carefully designed adaptation strategies can therefore help to increase the participation of women and other marginalized groups.

Details of the above mentioned results were presented by different experts from PIK, University of Kassel, HFFA Research and GIZ.

During the workshop, Madame Peggy Mlewa emphasized the importance of the study and the relevance of strengthening the empirical evidence of policy making in Zambia, as adaptation action and respective investments should be well informed and based on scientific evidence.

Through active participation of all representatives, helpful feedback and constructive discussions during the validation workshop, recommendations and suggestions were collected and will now be implemented into the climate risk analysis.

Local stakeholders at the validation workshop in Lusaka, Zambia.

As next steps, the revised draft of the climate risk analysis will be shared with selected stakeholders and participants of the validation workshop to gather further feedback. The study is expected to be finalized by the end of May.

Stakeholders validate results from climate risk analysis for Cameroon

Group discussion as part of the validation workshop in Yaoundé.

Validation of results

The overall objective of the climate risk analysis was to provide scientific evidence on climate risks in the agricultural sector in Cameroon and to evaluate suitable adaptation strategies for smallholder farmers.

At the validation workshop in Yaoundé, the key results of the climate risk analysis were presented and through active stakeholder participation and constructive discussions, helpful feedback, recommendations and suggestions were collected. The workshop was supported and co-chaired by ONACC (Observatoire National sur les Changements Climatiques) and attended by 36 participants, including:

  • Representatives of five ministries and national research institutes: MINEPDED (Environment), MINEPAT (Economy & Planification), MINADER (Agriculture), MINEE (Water & Energy) MINT (Transport) and CRECC (Scientific Research Institute)
  • Representatives of national universities
  • Representatives of local civil society organisations
  • Representatives of international organisations, such as ICRAF, WWF, GIZ Cameroon and the German Embassy (BMZ)

Political endorsement

The AGRICA study is endorsed by the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Cameroon (MINEPDED). Representatives of MINEPDED at the workshop stressed the importance and relevance of the study results for current national climate and development policies in Cameroon and affirmed the Ministry’s support.

Next steps

The feedback that was received at the validation workshop and beyond is currently being incorporated into to final study which will be published in summer 2023. The final study will also include a shorter summary paper aimed at policy makers.

Participants of the validation workshop in Yaoundé.

PIK and GIZ hold validation workshop in Uganda

Participants of the validation workshop in Kampala, Uganda.

The study results

The study covers climate impact projections for two agricultural value chains and analyses different adaptation strategies in terms of their risk mitigation potential and economic viability. The analysis specifically looks at how maize yields and the suitability of coffee will be impacted by climate change as well as how these impacts are felt at post-harvest steps of the respective value chains. To buffer these risks, improved maize varieties, agroforestry measures and improved post-harvest storage are assessed as potential adaptation strategies. Key results include:

  • By 2050, temperatures are projected to increase by 1.5 °C under the high emissions scenario.
  • Maize yields are projected to decrease between 8.6 % and 14.3 % by 2050 with large repercussions for foods security (see map below).
  • Land that is suitable to grow coffee will decrease affecting Uganda’s export earnings, as well as farmers’ livelihoods. Arabica coffee is particularly affected with projected suitability losses of up to 20 % until 2050. Robusta suitability will only slightly, but progressively, decrease with time with higher losses expected under the high emissions scenario of up to 5 %.
Climate change impacts on maize.

Agroforestry, improved seeds and improved post-harvest storage are examples of adaptation strategies that can significantly buffer the projected losses. Also, investing in these adaptation strategies makes good economic sense for farmers as they yield considerable returns on investments.

In addition to the workshop, PIK’s senior scientist Dr Abel Chemura gave a training on crop modelling at the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), building on a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutes to foster scientific collaboration.

A participatory research process

An important core element of the climate risk analysis is a participatory process. The study was initiated at a kick-off workshop in Kampala in March 2021, which was followed by various consultations and on-the-ground data collection processes in Kampala, Soroti, Lira, Agago, Mukono and Mityana. Furthermore, as part of the close research collaboration between PIK and NARO, PIK hosted Ms Eres Awori from NARO as a guest researcher at PIK in Potsdam/Berlin in September 2022.

The study, conducted on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is further embedded in the GIZ project Promoting Rural Development in Uganda (PRUDEV) and the Responsible Land Policy in Uganda (RELAPU) project.

Group work with local stakeholders at the validation workshop in Kampala, Uganda.

Next steps

The feedback, received at the validation workshop and beyond, is currently being incorporated and the study will be published this summer. Its findings build the basis for the new research project AfriValue, which PIK is conducting on behalf of the BMZ in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. This research will delve deeper into the complex direct and indirect repercussions of climate risks for coffee value chains aiming to identify transformative actions for adaptation along the different steps of agricultural value chains.

Participants of the validation workshop in Kampala, Uganda.

For questions and updates, please contact the study coordinator Sophie von Loeben:

Climate risk profile for Eastern Africa published

Like previous AGRICA climate risk profiles, this profile provides a condensed overview of projected climate parameters and related impacts on five key sectors in the region, including on water, agriculture, infrastructure, ecosystems and human health. In addition, it also includes information on issues related to conflict and migration. We have previously developed another regional profile for the Sahel, together with UNHCR, and are currently developing a profile for the Southern African region.

You can download the profile for Eastern Africa here.

Eastern Africa
Eastern Africa
Eastern Africa
Eastern Africa
Eastern Africa

AGRICA on Farm Radio: How scientific findings reach smallholder farmers in Burkina Faso and Niger

Too often, valuable scientific results are produced without making it into practice and without reaching their target group. AGRICA seeks to bridge this gap by making use of innovative communication formats and by partnering with organizations which have long-standing on-the-ground experience. One such organization is Farm Radio International (FRI), which is an NGO focused on providing advice to African farmers via the radio. Currently, FRI is active in 41 countries across Africa and via more than 1,000 radio stations on the continent.

Together, AGRICA and FRI took the scientific findings from two recent climate risk analyses conducted in Burkina Faso and Niger and developed radio scripts from these analyses. While the analyses are in-depth reports available in English and French, the radio scripts contain only the most important information for smallholder farmers – and they are translated into local languages, for example, into Fulfulde, Hausa and Zarma in the case of Niger. Furthermore, the scripts are designed as a two-host discussion and are publicly available so that radio hosts, journalists and anyone interested in easy-to-understand scientific results can access these scripts and share them with their audiences.

In this way, the scientific results produced in the AGRICA project have the chance to reach a large number of farmers, which is reflected in the rapid distribution of the radio scripts in Burkina Faso and Niger. For example, in Burkina Faso, the script was distributed via the national Farm Radio WhatsApp group, which has more than 250 members and via email to more than 400 broadcasters of the FRI network. Twelve broadcasters from four radio stations reported to be already using the radio script and to be distributing the findings through different formats like round table discussions, interviews, vox pops and magazines. “I learnt a lot personally, especially about the zaï technique, and afterwards I was able to produce an agricultural programme that met the farmers’ expectations,” one broadcaster told the FRI team.

Technician at a radio station in Quallam, Niger (source: Prosper Africa/flickr).

COP27: The PIK team joins climate experts in Sharm-el-Sheikh

Although COP27 failed to advance a rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it would be unfair to view this COP purely in terms of its shortcomings. It showed that there is movement in terms of agenda setting as well as in efforts for greater climate justice.

For example, COP27 put a markedly stronger focus on agriculture and the need for adaptation in this sector by hosting the first food-systems pavilion as well as developing a new four-year plan on agriculture and food security – the Koronivia work programme – and a new initiative aimed at increasing funding for a transformation of the agricultural sector by 2030. In this context, Prof. Dr. Johan Rockström, one of the PIK directors, and Prof. Dr. Christoph Gornott, leader of the PIK working group on adaptation in agricultural systems, participated in a panel discussion titled “Food security in a world of multiple crises” organized by the German Pavilion. The experts, along with Rachel Bezner Kerr and Henry Neufeldt, both IPCC lead authors on food-related issues in the IPCC Working Group II, and Sixbert Mwanga, Executive Director at the Climate Action Network (CAN) Tanzania, discussed possible solutions for sustainable and climate-resilient agricultural systems as well as their feasibility and co-benefits. According to Johan Rockström, climate policy and practice need not only look at biophysical tipping points but also at social tipping points, which are increasingly reflected in a widespread abandonment of agricultural livelihoods across the African continent – and across different parts of the value chain. As Christoph Gornott noted, climate impacts do not only occur in agricultural production but also in other parts of the value chain like, for example, processing, storage or transportation. Hence, adaptation efforts in the agricultural sector require holistic approaches.

Likely, the biggest success of COP27 was achieved regarding loss and damage: For the first time in COP history, the issue made it truly on the agenda and the unprecedented importance given to loss and damage materialized in the establishment of a global loss and damage fund – the so-called Global Shield against Climate Risks – through which rich countries are to compensate poorer countries for the losses and damages caused by climate change. Although the details of such a fund are not clear yet, for example, who exactly will pay into the fund and according to which criteria, it was universally received as a truly positive outcome of COP27 and an important step in achieving greater climate justice.

Panel discussion on “Food security in a world of multiple crises” at the German Pavilion at COP27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh: Host Daisy Dunne (Carbon Brief) along with Prof. Dr. Johan Rockström (PIK), Rachel Bezner Kerr and Henry Neufelt (both IPCC Working Group II), Prof. Dr. Christoph Gornott (PIK) and Sixbert Mwanga (CAN Tanzania).

PIK and GIZ kick off three new climate risk analyses

In April and May 2022, joint PIK and GIZ teams have been holding kick-off workshops with representatives from the government, academia, civil society and international organizations in Yaoundé, Kampala and Lusaka with the aim to present first study results, further refine the study focus and identify stakeholders’ priorities and possible entry points to national policies and programmes.

The climate risk analyses will be structured along the usual AGRICA impact-action study framework with each study specifically tailored to the local context and end users’ needs.

In Cameroon, the study will focus on maize, cocoa and cassava production which are major drivers for deforestation. In addition, forest cover change and grassland productivity are considered to support resilient land use and adaptation planning.

In Uganda, the climate impacts and adaptation options along maize and coffee value chains are assessed, as well as interactions between climate change and land governance.

In Zambia, water availability in the Kafue catchment will be a particular focus of the climate risk analysis. Moreover, the evaluation of adaptation options to climate change will include several criteria, including a cost-benefit analysis and financing options.

The climate risk analyses are developed over the coming year in a participatory manner and in close collaboration with national ministries and research institutes.

If you are interested in collaboration, please feel free to contact Prof. Dr. Christoph Gornott:

Field research with the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) in Uganda

PIK and GIZ kick off new climate risk analysis in Uganda

Workshop at Kabira Country Club in Kampala

The one-day workshop was formally opened by David Löw, Deputy Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany; Luigina Blaich, Head of Programme Promoting Rural Development at GIZ; Lydia Mugala, Senior Agriculture Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF); Dr. Florence Adongo, Director of Water Resources at the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE); and Prof. Dr. Christoph Gornott, Working Group Leader at PIK. The importance of science-based climate change adaptation was highlighted for both, national development planning, as well as the German-Ugandan development cooperation. Lydia Mugala (MAAIF) emphasized “the magnitude of challenge” for the agricultural sector and the need for “innovative thinking”. Dr. Florence Adongo (MWE) further highlighted the importance of adaptation, mitigation and enhancing technologies in the agricultural sector, with the agricultural sector being the backdrop of the economy and the biggest user of water in the country. Furthermore, Semambo Muhammad Kasagazi, Principal Climate Change Officer Adaptation at MWE gave a technical brief on the role of agriculture in Uganda’s national climate change adaptation agenda. The event was moderated by Naima Lipka and Janani Luwum Onencan from GIZ.

Christoph Gornott, Lisa Murken and Sophie von Loeben from PIK introduced the study framework and presented first climate change projections. During interactive sessions, the study focus was further refined, climate risks and possible adaptation strategies along maize and coffee value chains and land governance aspects were discussed and possible entry points to national climate resilience and agricultural plans and programmes identified.

With the aim to support stakeholders with risk-informed planning and investment, a particular focus of the study will be placed on analysing impacts along the coffee and maize value chains and investigating interactions between climate change and land governance. Based on the risks identified, agroforestry, improved seeds and improved post-harvest handling and storage will be analysed as adaptation strategies with regard to their feasibility, cost effectiveness and aptitude for local conditions.

Group work using mental models to assess interactions between climate change and land governance at the workshop

The workshop was followed by field work in Northern, Eastern and Central Uganda. Focus group discussions and key informant interviews were conducted with key stakeholders along the maize and coffee value chains, including people involved in farming, aggregation, processing and marketing, in addition to representatives of governments and NGOs. Results will be linked to climate and crop modelling. To assess how climate change and extreme weather events affect land tenure security and how tenure security in turn affects adaptation uptake, we used mental models to map farmers’ decision-making processes with the aim to better understand their perception of intention to a) acquire formal land titles and b) implement adaptation strategies.

Focus group discussions on coffee value chains in Mityana

The study is conducted together with the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and supported by Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Water and Environment, the Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Lands, Housing & Urban Development and developed in close cooperation with the Climate Policy Support Programme (SV Klima), Promoting Rural Development (PRUDEV) and Responible Land Policy in Uganda (RELAPU) at GIZ.

For more information, please contact Sophie von Loeben: