Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Climate change impacts livelihoods in Ethiopia - Worldbulletin News

Climate change impacts livelihoods in Ethiopia

A UN report also asserted that Ethiopia's low level of economic development, coupled with a heavy dependence on rain-fed agriculture and high population growth, made the country particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.

World Bulletin / News Desk
Climate change has impacted people's livelihoods in Ethiopia, a new United Nations report has found.
"Both the frequency and intensity of droughts have increased, impacting the livelihoods of people," reads the report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), unveiled in Addis Ababa on Monday.
"At the same time, increases in flooding have also intensified the vulnerability of households in Ethiopia," it added.
The report, entitled "What does it mean for Ethiopia's development," predicted that temperatures would rise by between 0.9° and 1.1° (centigrade) by 2030, by between 1.7° and 2.1° by 2050, and by between 2.7° and 3.4° by 2080.
It went on to assert that Ethiopia's low level of economic development, coupled with a heavy dependence on rain-fed agriculture and high population growth, made the country particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.
"The country has experienced both warm and cool years over the last 55 years. However, the recent years are the warmest compared to the early years," the report read.
It added: "There has been a warming trend in the annual minimum temperature over the past 55 years. It has been increasing by about 0.37° every ten years."
Several officials were present at the report's launch ceremony, including Ethiopian Water, Energy and Irrigation Minister Alemayehu Tegenu and Ethiopian National Meteorology Agency General Director Fetene Teshome.
Also present were scientists and representatives of regional and international organizations, who are expected to discuss the report for the next two days.
The report followed an outreach event organized by the National Meteorological Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the IPCC and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network.
"The report means a lot to Ethiopia since environmental issues get updated through research from time to time," senior environment adviser Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher said.
He added that the report's findings would help Ethiopia better tackle the environmental challenges it faces.
Berhan said Ethiopia's resilient "green economy" policy envisaged a carbon-free nation by 2025.
Minister Tegenu, for his part, said that Ethiopia's green economy strategy rested on three pillars: renewable energy, biofuels and afforestation.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Oceans to blame for Ethiopian famine, says Ghent researcher | Flanders Today

New analysis of oceanic patterns offers scientists a new understanding of the causes of the droughts that spurred Ethiopia’s deadly famine of the 1980s

A look back at famine

Everyone older than 35 remembers the tragic famine that ravaged Ethiopia and neighbouring Eritrea between 1983 and 1985 – if not because of the footage of starving children on television then because of the Live Aid concerts organised by Bob Geldof.
In northernEthiopiaalone – the hardest stricken region – more then 400,000 people died from the effects of the famine, mainly because of starvation and disease, but also due to  violence inflicted by the oppressive Ethiopian army. According the United Nations, more than one million people died during the three-year famine.
One of the major causes of the disaster was a lingering period of drought that struckEastern Africain the beginning of the 1980s. In Ethiopia, the economy relies heavily on agriculture and the export of agricultural products.
The first signals were already there in 1981, when a less-serious drought wiped out harvests. ButEthiopia’s food reserves were then still large enough to handle what was hoped to be an isolated incident. In the following years, however, the usual spring rains again stayed away, and diseases destroyed crops on a massive scale in the Sidamo region, Ethiopia’ breadbasket.
By the summer of 1984, tens of thousands were dying of starvation and related diseases. Aid agencies said six million people were at risk. Food aid from the West came much too late because Western countries were reluctant to support the Marxist government of Ethiopia, and the famine became the worst in the history of modern Africa.
Thirty years later, it is clear political factors were largely at fault: aside from the West dragging its feet, the Ethiopian government preferred spending the country’s already narrow budget on its army instead of on its starving population.
But what caused the droughts in the first place? Flemish scientists, together with Ethiopian colleagues, have now solved the puzzle. A complex interplay between three oceanic patterns from three different oceans is to blame, they have announced.

Science reveals underlying cause

That oceans have an important impact on global climate is well-known. Lesser known is that climate variability – or the occurrence of local extremes – can be caused by anomalies in oceanic patterns tens of thousands of kilometres away. For example, the effects of El Niño, a band of warm water temperatures that periodically develops off the South American coast around Christmas, are felt globally.
Ethiopian meteorologists have known for many years that their weather is influenced by El Niño. However, a Flemish researcher fromGhentUniversity(UGent) has recently discovered other contributing factors apart from this one powerful “oceanic driver”.
Sil Lanckriet, a UGent meteorologist and PhD student, has pinpointed two other major influences in Ethiopia’s weather system: the so-called Indian Ocean dipole and the monsoons in the south-western part of the Atlantic Ocean.
By doing so, he was able to increase the accuracy of the country’s rainfall model dramatically. The results from the model now fit precisely with the data of the recorded rainfall (or the absence of) during previous decades inEthiopia. In other words, Lanckriet has identified the true cause of the lingering drought that caused the famine inEthiopiaandEritrea.

Description, not prediction

Lanckriet made use of a 15-year-old modelling technique called EOT. “It’s a method used to find large-scale atmospheric patterns,” he says. “In Earth observation data, we use this technique to examine each pixel of millions that make up satellite images and to identify the ones that have the greatest influence on the global picture. Using EOT, we found relevant patterns not only in the Pacific [due to El Niño], but also in the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans.”
According to Lanckriet, all three oceanic patterns were needed to cause the severe droughts that resulted in the famine of the 1980s. “The interplay between them altered the monsoon circulation as well as the air flow in the lower atmosphere in the tropics.”
So is this phenomenon likely to recur? Lanckriet thinks so. “Yes, it is, though we really need all three oceanic patterns to be present at the same time to cause a drought as severe as the one we saw inEthiopia. But predicting future droughts with our currently model is still difficult. It is a diagnostic model and not a real prediction model. However, we hope to construct a drought prediction model for the Northern Horn of Africa soon.”
photo courtesy Wikimedia

Fighting hunger and poverty in Ethiopia - Eldis

Implementation of a disaster prevention, employment-generating scheme in food insecure Ethiopia
View full report
Drought, poverty, famine and war are not new to Ethiopia. Much of Ethiopia's overseas aid has come in the form of humanitarian assistance rather than direct efforts to reduce poverty and elimate widespread hunger. This paper provides an overview of the implementation of Ethiopia's National Policy for Disaster Prevention and Management (NPDPM), with a particular focus on Employment Generation Schemes (EGS) and its potential contribution towards hunger eradication and poverty reduction.

Following an examination of the global hunger situation, the paper turns its attention to the specific case of Ethiopia, including issues of governance, regional dynamics, vulnerability and the nature and extent of poverty and hunger. The author reviews a wide range of literature on social protection and food security, leading on to some policy implications and recommendations.
In terms of implementation of the above named schemes, the author finds that:
  • both the NPDPM and EGS schemes remain largely ineffective and inefficient
  • the national policy provides an appropriate pro-poor framework for employment provision and asset creation while essential supportive measures have been neglected
  • EGS has not led to transformation in production and broad based economic growth - nor has it addressed some of the key institutional bottlenecks related to program delivery
  • important policy reform measures related to land and water management and ownership have also not been adequately addressed
  • social protection is often considered to be a high cost, low returns component of democratic governance - experience highlights poor performance in planning and implementation
  • the capacities for implementation are good, although only when sufficienct resources have been allocated and this seldom occurs under the governments own budget.