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Drought risk management in southern Africa. The potential of long lead climate forecasts for improved drought management

Drought risk management in southern Africa. The potential of long lead climate forecasts for improved drought management

Gibberd, V., Rook, J., Sear, C. B. and Williams, J. B. (1995) Drought risk management in southern Africa. The potential of long lead climate forecasts for improved drought management. Technical Report. Natural Resources Institute, Chatham, UK.

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Although climate variability is the single most important factor affecting the livelihood of the people of southern Africa, there is no country in which drought risk is managed well. This mission set out to determine whether the social and economic benefits from making use of long lead climate forecast techniques for managing drought risk in southern Africa would justify investment directed towards bringing forward the techniques into operational usage. The four person mission consulted a wide range of decision makers, weather information users and technical specialists in Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe during the month of July 1995. The views of those consulted were markedly positive and convergent. Reliable drought prediction is a very high priority for the people and economies of southern Africa. The mission found that: while climates are always changing, southern Africa does indeed appear to be becoming increasingly drought affected; for many governments, people and purposes in the region, reliable indication of the quality of the next wet season is probably the most useful single item of information that could be provided; ongoing climate research is much closer than is generally appreciated to being able to provide reliable and timely information of this kind; It is not logical to wait for forecast skill to be 100% reliable before beginning to incorporate forecasts into decision making meteorological institutions in the region are not capable of realising the full potential of their global links in their present state: they need both investment and development; while improved long lead forecasts offer the prospect of significant benefits, these will not be fully realised without a number of concurrent developments across the economy. The mission concludes that relatively modest investment towards both improving climate prediction and strengthening information dissemination and uptake pathways could revolutionise drought risk 'management-enhancing economic responsibility, food security and natural resource management throughout the region. Benefits from the better management of strategic grain reserves alone would justify the necessary investment. The mission recommends that ODA, the World Bank and other development organisations recognise the important potential of these techniques for mitigating many of the effects of recurrent drought, and seek the means to ensure their broad multi-disciplinary implementation for maximum impact and benefit.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: drought, risk management, Africa, climate forecast, drought management, livelihoods
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
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Last Modified: 12 Dec 2019 16:02

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