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Document Abstract
Published: 2015

Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in the semi-arid regions of Southern Africa

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The semi-arid areas of southern Africa are culturally and ecologically diverse characterised by a high proportion of poor people with limited access to services, high unemployment levels, high levels of inequality, and high levels of HIV and AIDS. In addition to agriculture, the people living in these areas are reliant on a variety of natural resources, employment and remittances for their livelihoods due to the relatively low agricultural productivity of land.

Semi-arid areas in southern africa are characterised by seasonal and highly variable rainfall (inter-annually and intra-seasonally), frequent droughts and flash floods. Temperatures are predicted to increase in semi-arid areas in southern Africa by between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius by 2050 and substantial multi-decadal variability in rainfall is predicted to continue into the future, without certainty in the direction of change in rainfall in any area.

This report discusses a Regional Diagnostic Study with objectives to:

  • develop a systematic understanding of existing knowledge and perceptions of climate change trends, impacts, vulnerability, adaptation strategies, and barriers and enablers to effective adaptation in SARs
  • provide a system scale perspective from which ASSAR researchers can undertake research in the Regional Research Programme (RRP); and
  • help inform the more detailed sets of specific research foci for the RRP
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