Forestry and climate change
Forest Management and Climate Change in Eastern Africa
14-16 December 2016, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
The Fifth Assessment Report presents strong evidence that warming over land across Africa has increased over the last 50–100 years. Surface temperatures have already increased by 0.5–2°C over the past hundred years. Data from 1950 onwards suggests that climate change has changed the magnitude and frequency of some extreme weather events in Africa already. The health, livelihoods and food security of people in Africa have been affected by climate change. Global projections suggest that by the end of the 21st century, the climate in eastern Africa will be wetter, with more intense wet seasons and less severe droughts in October-November-December and March-April-May, a reversal of recent historical trends. Regional models suggest that most parts of Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan will be drier in August and September by the end of the 21st century. Projections indicate shorter spring rains in the mid-21st century for Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania and southern Kenya, and longer autumn rains in southern Kenya and Tanzania.
FAO has prepared guidelines to assist forest policy makers and forest managers to integrate climate change into forest policies, plans and practices. The guidelines were prepared in response to national priorities expressed in countries’ CPFs and National Adaptation Programmes for Actions (NAPAs) and will also contribute to FAO’s Strategic Programme 2. The (Intended) Nationally Determined Contributions ([I]NDCs) to the UNFCCC will be taken into account as the implementation of the guidelines continues. Implementation of the guidelines has commenced in Latin America and Asia and a pilot project was undertaken in Kenya. Currently FAO would like to engage six Eastern African countries to commence the implementation of the guidelines. These countries are Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
The first step in the implementation process of the guidelines was a workshop bringing together two representatives from each of the target countries. The main objective of the workshop was to assess current forest management practices, climate change challenges and opportunities and identify priority areas for adjustment to incorporate climate change considerations using the climate change guidelines for forest managers. The workshop also provided opportunity to articulate specific goals and objectives for climate change which can assist forest managers in incorporating climate change considerations into forest management plans and practices.
The workshop enabled participants to:
- to share experiences and initiatives and identify priorities and assessing challenges and opportunities for forest-related climate change mitigation and adaptation in the sub-region;
- to assist forest managers in identifying and prioritizing changes in practices to be better able to respond effectively to climate change;
- to provide an operational approach for integrating climate change consistently into forest management practices;
- to build individual and institutional capacity to implement climate change adaptation and mitigation actions;
- Finally, an action plan for the implementation of the guidelines will be discussed and drafted.
Participation was recommended for the climate change experts who are involved in climate change policy and planning at the national level particularly climate change adaptation, and forestry experts who are involved with the practical aspects of forest management at the local level.