WWF integrating Climate Change Adaptation into conservation work in Africa
The continent has unique biodiversity which is not only of global conservation value, but also provides ecosystem goods and services essential to poor and fast-growing human populations. Africa’s rich biodiversity is however threathened by climate change. It is predicted that with the current trends, climate change will become the biggest single driver of biodiversity loss over the next 50–100 years, larger than loss of habitat, over-exploitation, and introduction of invasive species. It is also projected that in Africa 25–42% of plant species will lose their habitat by 2085 and 10–40% of mammals will fall within the critically endangered or extinct categories by 2080.
Integrating climate change risks into conservation and related development work and influencing country level national adaptation planning and implementation process to secure a place for nature and people in a climate changing world is critical. Low adaptive capacity on the part of local communities, governments and institutions has been identified as a major obstacle that is limiting the ability of natural and social systems to respond to the challenge of climate change in this region.
WWF in Africa works on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development at country, landscape/seascape and regional levels. WWF is implementing the Africa Adaptation Initiative which has an Overarching Goal of safeguarding high value conservation areas and of livelihoods in Africa. WWF is integrating climate change adaptation into its conservation work and implementation of climate smart activities. The programme aims that by 2020, the impacts of climate related risks and disasters to vulnerable communities and ecosystems in target African countries supported by WWF are minimized, and social security and resilience enhanced.
The programme’s objectives will be achieved by mainstreaming climate change adaptation at all levels in WWF programmes, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) work and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to enhance the resilience of rural communities and ecosystems against climate shocks. It will strengthen the technical capacity of WWF staff and CSOs/CBOs to meaningfully engage governments and other stakeholders to factor climate change impact in national development decisions while also building vulnerable communities’ capacities to resist the adverse impacts of climate change and increase their resilience.
This programme is providing support to 12 Countries in Africa and seed grants in selected priority locations in Africa (Kenya – Africa Rift Lakes Region (ARL) focusing on the Mara landscape/forests; Uganda ARL region focusing in the Albertine Graben; Zambia- Miombo Eco-region focusing on the Kavango Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (TFCA); Mozambique – Rovuma landscape (largest terrestrial, still pristine & contagious trans-boundary area)) through capacity building and advocacy with local CSOs/CBOs in each of the country offices and working in partnership with the governments in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique. There are more countries from Africa which are also part of this project but not receiving seed grants. These countries are Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Gabon, DRC, Namibia, South Africa, Central Africa Republic, Tanzania and Cameroon.
The four Selected pilot countries receiving seed grants were identified as highly vulnerable to the impacts of ‘extreme weather events’, whether droughts or floods, have brought additional pressures on the already weakened subsistence economy of Eastern and Southern Africa countries. These countries are Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique.