In modern times, human activities caused and continue to cause massive changes to the composition of the environment. One of the most pressing concerns of both scientific and public communities is the advanced greenhouse effect brought about by the anthropogenic activities worldwide. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that climate change already showed strong impacts on human societies and the natural world. This impact is expected to continue for the coming years. (IPCC, 2007)
Adaptation is a necessary strategy. This is because the present and the forecasted disruption sin the climate as advanced by the continuous and increasing levels of greenhouse effects emitted by the gases used by the industrialized nations. As such, adaptation is a necessary strategy at all scales and cost in order to support the various mitigating efforts and programs for climate change. Albeit, we still do not even know if mitigation efforts for climate change is effective. Indeed, the odds are quite high that in the future, more global warming is inevitable. As it is, there is now a constant high level of GHGs in the air and this has a gap in terms of effect since the impact of emissions is delayed by several decades.
Sudan, a very poor country in Africa, is one of the mot affected countries in terms of climate change and/or global warming. This condition is complicated by the interaction of multiple stresses occurring at various levels such as endemic poverty; institutional weaknesses; limited access to capital, including markets, infrastructure and technology; ecosystem degradation; complex disasters and conflicts. These stresses, in turn, have weakened poor people’s adaptive capacity. This has also increased their vulnerability to projected climate change. (IPCC, 2007)
This paper assesses Sudan’s vulnerability to climate change and outlines some of the actions being taken to help the country to adapt to a changing climate. The author is an active participant in national climate change activities and is also actively engaged with NGOs and coordinating Sudan’s role in Community-based Adaptation in Africa (CBAA).
There are several reasons why adaptive strategies are highly demanded especially in third world countries like Sudan. These include the following:
Adaptation can potentially reduce adverse effect of climate change. It can also promote positive impacts. However, it is also very important to stress that adaptation will also incur costs and cannot prevent all damages. (Barnett, 2001) Hence, the most critical adaptive strategies need to be identified and applied.
In addressing vulnerability and adaptation strategies due to climate change, the major elements involve the following: extremes, variability, and rates of change. (Barnett, 2001) Thus, it is not simply minor changes in daily climate condition.
This paper aims to add to the present coping mechanism and/or strategies of Sudan in terms of climate change. It also evaluates the other coping strategies as its model for local applications. It aims to support the process of climate change adaptation to effectively solve the problems and needs of the vulnerable communities in Sudan by illustrating the problems extensively and assessing effective community based adaptive capacity building and reflecting on how these can be effective and supportive in the Sudan community.
This paper also aims to give the decision and policy makers with the recent current knowledge on several strategies that can enhance the adaptive capacity of Sudan. It also aims to give lessons to promote the adaptation to climate change especially through planning, policy making, research, and community consultation. Lastly this paper aims to enhance and expands regional collaboration in the African areas in terms of environmental management, disaster mitigation and community involvement.
According to (Mirza, 2003), the ability of human systems to adapt to and cope with climate change depends on such factors as wealth, technology, education, infrastructure, access to resources, management capabilities, acceptance of the existence of climate change and the consequent need for action, and sociopolitical will. Populations and communities are highly variable in their endowments of these attributes, with developing nations being among those worst-placed to adapt to global warming.
A significant effect of global climate change is the altering of global rainfall patterns, with certain effects on agriculture. Extended drought can cause the failure of small and marginal farms with resultant economic, political and social disruption. However, such events have previously occurred in human history independent of global climate change. In recent decades, global trade has created distribution networks capable of delivering surplus food to where it is needed, thus reducing local impact. There are also several ways to adapt to and minimize the disruptive effects of rainfall patterns. (Nurse & Moore, 2005)
Drought tolerant crop varieties
Agriculture of any kind is strongly influenced by the availability of water. Climate change will modify rainfall, evaporation, runoff, and soil moisture storage. Changes in total seasonal precipitation or in its pattern of variability are both important. The occurrence of moisture stress during flowering, pollination, and grain-filling is harmful to most crops and particularly so to corn, soybeans, and wheat. Increased evaporation from the soil and accelerated transpiration in the plants themselves will cause moisture stress. As a result, there will be a need to develop crop varieties with greater drought tolerance. (Thorton, et. al., 2006)
Climate change, impact of vulnerability
An examination of Sudan's ecological zones, as described above, indicates that the majority of its land is quite vulnerable to change in temperature and precipitation. The country's inherent vulnerability may best be captured by the fact that food security is mainly determined by rainfall, particularly in the rural areas where more than 65% of the population lives. (Moula, Ismail, & Elgizouli, 2008) Mean annual temperature lies between 26º to 32º but in some places it reaches 47º C causing a lot of stresses and heat related diseases. Rainfall is erratic and varies significantly from the North to the South. The unreliable nature of rainfall together with its concentration during the short growing season increases the vulnerability of the rain-fed agricultural system. (Ibid.)
Sudan also experienced many devastating floods, of two specific types, during the past several decades. In addition to drought and floods there are other climate extreme events such as dust storms, thunderstorms and heat waves whose occurrence though less frequent, still pose serious threat to local livelihood. Beside the adverse economic impacts of these climate changes related phenomena, there are also associated social impacts. Non climatic factors also contribute to increased vulnerability, especially in rural areas and local communities.
Studies from the preparation of the Sudan National Program of Action (NAPA) show that in five states representative of the country's five ecological zones non climatic factors that increased vulnerability included: deep poverty; lack of income diversity; lack of agricultural inputs; resource mismanagement; increased cultivation; fragile land and water resources; poor soil fertility; deforestation; natural resource conflicts; poor extension services; community displacement, and poor sanitation and health services. (Andrea, 2009)
Sumaya, et. al. (n.d.) summarized the lessons in the adaptation strategies in the arid region of Sudan. They reported that sustainable livelihoods activities enhance the adaptive capacity amidst the effects of climate change. They studied several sustainable livelihoods measures, discusses their role in community coping and adaptive capacity, their policy and institutional enabling factors, their potential in climate change adaptation, and recommendations for how they can be integrated into adaptation policy and planning.
Data & Methods
Predominantly, this research used qualitative research methods. Context analysis was extensively used in giving out a critical assessment on the problems of Sudan in terms of adaptive measures. The research processes and procedure were studied to ensure that the research instruments and resources supplied unbiased and correct research data.
Each of the adaptation strategies in poor countries was examined so as to distinguish the adaptation strategies inherent and applicable to Sudan. This empirical investigation also utilized various evidences and observed the phenomena in a real-life context. (Trochim, 2008) All the literatures and sources concerning this paper were collected and analyzed based on the paradigm of the United Nations Development Program.
This research uses the comparison of the African case to explain and understand the adaptive strategies of Sudan and the global strategies of the whole African region. This was used in order to overcome the demands of the climate effects on the condition of these third world nations. Interestingly, this paper tried to understand the success and challenges in implementing various adaptive strategies of climate change.
• Assessment of the present situation/context.
• Data gathering on the background of the current situation.
• Collection of more pertinent and specialized data by deeper investigation and further observation and case analysis.
• Presentation of findings and proposals for further action.
An overview of the African region’ policy positions in relation to Sudan’s own policy implementation showed the rich description and understanding of the nature of climate change and its impact. It also shows that the research outcomes can be useful to the other poor nations beset by climate change. However, this research results are useful only within the time frame specified. (Babbie, 2005)
The major instrument used in this study is the evaluation of the selected primary and secondary sources gathered from institutional sources such as UNDP report, national agencies, and public documents. In this paper, the author reviewed and analyzed the documents and data and cross checked the information with other sources so as to obtain the critical information required to address the research questions. This process made use of direct observation and the utilization of secondary data. In this regard, this paper focused on the analysis of secondary sources. These specifically highlight the use of intergovernmental data, scholarly papers and journals, and many others. (Trochim, 2008) The validity of these documents and data sources was standardized according to these three criteria: credibility, authenticity, meaning, and representativeness.
Data and materials related to the research inquiry were used in order to support the contentions gathered for this research problem. Notes were also taken for this analysis. Existing documents were analyzed through content analysis. As this research is exploratory in nature, the author used a gradual procedure of gathering intelligence about Sudan’s adaptive strategies. The researcher started with the preliminary concepts of the study, including its contexts.
The climate’s impact on a major source of earning that provides sustainable living compels farmers to implement new agricultural approaches including strategies that help them cope with the climatic change. Farms as well as rural households adapt in different ways to decrease the undesirable impact of climate change on their crop production, farm proceeds and domestic income. (United Nations, 2010)
In general, their range of strategies to deal with unsteady changing climate entails the following:
Changing crop combination to one that is more tolerant of temperate changes and can endure the onslaught of famine;
Reducing the crops initially planted to a manageable scale, and then increasing them progressively, depending on the temperament of the season;
Spreading the dates of sowing and planting across the season;
Increasing crop spacing;
Capitalizing on the use of clay soils where they are obtainable as this kind of soil carries a high capacity to contain water;
Making use of soil and water management skills (weeding as well as pot-holing);
Regulating the level and timing of the harvest; and Conducting traditional ceremonies that boost morale and encourage teamwork among the farmers.
This paper found out that many communities and regions that are vulnerable to climate change are also under pressure from forces such as population growth, resource depletion, and poverty. Policies that lessen pressures on resources, improve management of environmental risks, and increase the welfare of the poorest members of society can simultaneously advance sustainable development and equity, enhance adaptive capacity, and reduce vulnerability to climate and other stresses. Inclusion of climatic risks in the design and implementation of national and international development initiatives such as polar cities can promote equity and development that is more sustainable and that reduces vulnerability to climate change. (Obasi, 2005)
Adaptation through local planning
Through the use of sources, this paper revealed that:
Local land use and municipal planning represent important avenues for adaptation to global warming. These forms of planning are recognized as central to avoiding the impacts of climate related hazards such as floods and heat stress, planning for demographic and consumption transition, and plans for ecosystem conservation. This type of planning is different from the National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs) which are intended to be frameworks for prioritizing adaptation needs. At the local scale, municipalities are at the coal face of adaptation where impacts are experienced in the forms of inundation, bushfires, heat waves and rising sea levels. (O’Brien & Vogel, 2003)
Cities are planning for adapting to global warming and climate change. The New York Times began a series of articles on this subject with Chicago's adaptation initiatives being highlighted. Projects include changing to heat tolerant tree varieties, changing to water permeable pavements to absorb higher rainfalls and adding air conditioning in public schools. New York and other cities are involved in similar planning. (Arnell,2004)
Adaptation through local planning occurs in two distinct modes. The first is strategic planning, which is important but not unique to local governments. At the local scale it fosters community vision, aspiration goals and place-making, along with defining pathways to achieve these goals. The second form is land-use planning, and is focused on the allocation of space to balance economic prosperity with acceptable living standards and the conservation of natural resources. Although these two types of planning are quite different in practice, and in many cases are managed by different departments, we propose that both are highly important to climate change adaptation, and can contribute to achieving adaptation at the local scale. (Biagini, 2007) Significant constraints are recognized to hinder adaptation through planning, including limited resources, lack of information, competing planning agendas and complying with requirements from other levels of government.
Planning for rising sea levels is one of the key challenges for local planning in response to climate change. Many national governments around the world have attempted to address the problem of rising sea levels through policy and planning reforms designed to increase adaptive capacity. (Boko, et. al., 2007)
Adaptation Strategies of Sudan
The Strategies for Adapting to Climate Change in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa (Nzuma, et.al. 2010) reveals that the following are the most common adaptive strategies being imposed by Sudan:
1. Developing and promoting drought-tolerant and early-maturing crop species
2. Exploiting new and renewable energy sources, such as solar power, hydro electric power, etc.
3. Reducing overall livestock numbers by sale or slaughter.
4. Cross-breeding, zero-grazing, and keeping smaller livestock such as sheep or goats.
5. Instituting national conservation and restoration of vegetative cover of degraded and mountain areas.
6. Promoting and strengthening aquaculture, poultry raising, and the like as alternative livelihood option.
7. Increasing agriculture extension activities.
8. Introducing preventive measures to restrict malaria transmission such as mosquito nets, treatment/drying up of breeding sites.
It is also very important to stress that the ability of human systems to adapt to and cope with climate change depends on such factors as wealth, technology, education, infrastructure, access to resources, management capabilities, acceptance of the existence of climate change and the consequent need for action, and sociopolitical will. (Boko, 2007) Populations and communities are highly variable in their endowments of these attributes, with developing nations being among those worst-placed to adapt to global warming. To reiterate, adaptation to climate change is a survival instinct and it is not just a sustainable development challenge.
There are several measures which can make adaptive strategies effective in both local and international levels. According to the Impact of Climate Change on the Development Prospects of the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States (2009), to develop better and enlightened decisions about the impact of climate change, it is very significant that the local, international and global levels of stresses are understood. In this scenario, more research has to be enforced in order to know the impact of climate change on poor countries. The adaptive strategies of poor countries must also be more comprehensive. Indeed, adaptation must be mainstreamed in Sudan’s development plans and strategies. (Ibid.)
Sudan and other poor countries and region can also greatly develop their adaptation capacity through regional arrangements and networking of resources. This is because they do not have the financial resources and the technical capacities to support their adaptive strategies. The global community must be supportive to help poor nations through monetary and technical assistance.
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