By Glantz, Betsill and Crandall, Environmental and Societal Impacts Group (ESIG). Information about El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events potentially has much to offer in alleviating the impact of drought and improving food security in drought-prone countries. Advanced warning of ENSO and "teleconnected" drought could allow for flexible agricultural production practices, strategic management of grain and water reserves, minimal budgetary impacts, and effective management of donor relief. This study reviews the actual as well as potential use of ENSO information during the 1991-92 drought in Southern Africa. Using the case-scenario method, this study assesses the use of ENSO information during the drought situation and then considers how the national, regional and international responses to the drought might have been different had ENSO information been widely available to decision makers in March 1991. A set of possible responses is identified based on information obtained from open-ended questionnaires and interviews that, in theory, could have been taken with earlier information. Political, social, and economic constraints to the actual use of this information are also identified, which enables us to distinguish between the theoretical and actual value of ENSO information in this particular drought situation. In the final chapter, we note that many lessons were learned from the 1991/92 drought in Southern Africa which have enhanced the potential utility of ENSO information for food security in the region. Nevertheless, potential users still face obstacles in their ability to use ENSO information in decision making. These include questions about the reliability of forecasts, delays in the timing of forecasts, a lack of understanding of what the forecasts mean, as well as concerns about the utility of regional-scale forecasts for local level decision making.
The 2012 Human Development Report for Africa explores why dehumanizing hunger remains pervasive in the region, despite abundant agricultural resources, a favorable growing climate, and rapid economic growth rates. It also emphasizes that food security – the ability to consistently acquire enough calories and nutrients for a healthy and productive life - is essential for human development.
To boost food security, it argues for action in four interrelated areas: agricultural productivity, nutrition, access to food, and empowerment of the rural poor. It asserts that increasing agricultural productivity in sustainable ways can bolster food production and economic opportunities, thereby improving food availability and increasing purchasing power. Effective nutrition policies can create conditions for the proper use and absorption of calories and nutrients. Finally, empowering the rural poor - especially women - and harnessing the power of information, innovation, and markets can promote equitable allocation of food and resources within families and across communities.
In the years ahead, development efforts aiming at reducing vulnerability will increasingly have to factor in climate change, and social protection is no exception. This paper sets out the case for
climate‐responsive social protection and proposes a framework with principles, design features, and functions that would help SP systems evolve in a climate‐responsive direction. The principles comprise climate‐aware planning; livelihood‐based approaches that consider the full range of assets and institutions available to households and communities; and aiming for resilient communities by planning for the long term. Four design features that can help achieve this are: scalable and flexible programs that can increase coverage in response to climate disasters; climate‐responsive targeting systems; investments in livelihoods that build community and household resilience; and promotion of better climate risk management
This guide focuses on the household and community level and provides users with resources and tools for collecting, analysing and sharing gender-sensitive information about agricultural communities, households and individual household members who are facing climatic changes.