Adaptation this month

Adaptation Fund 10 Year Anniversary publication showcases South African projects 

The Adaptation Fund commemorated its 10th year anniversary at the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 23 in Bonn, Germany. The Fund took this platform as an opportunity to reflect on its adaptation interventions by showcasing project stories and its major achievements over the past 10 years.

The Fund's anniversary book titled Adaptation Fund: 10-Years of Innovation, Action and Learning features Ms Maria Chavalala from the Tanani Matiko Multipurpose and Disabled Cooperative on its cover. Furthermore, the publication prominently features the two South African projects which are currently under implementation. These are the uMngeni Resilience Project (URP) and the Small Grants Facility (SGF).December 2017 E-News article_1 The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), which is the National Implementing Entity of the Adaptation Fund in South Africa, was also profiled along with local beneficiary stories and capsules from the URP and SGF. For more information, follow the links below:

SANBI: Empowering Rural Farmers through Localized projects

South Africa: Increasing Climate Resilience in Small-scale Farmers through Integrated Adaptation

South Africa: Helping Smallholders Improve Crop Production 

Umgeni Resilience Project facilitates the signing of MoUs between University of KwaZulu-Natal, South African Weather Service and Umgeni Water 

Author: Ms Christine Cuenod (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

The University of KwaZulu-Natal's School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) recently hosted a launch workshop on its Westville campus to commemorate the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between UKZN and the South African Weather Service (SAWS), as well as between SAWS and Umgeni Water (UW).

The launch workshop took place on 17 November in partnership with key partners SAWS and UW, and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), which provides oversight for the agreements. The signing of the MoUs was facilitated by the uMngeni Resilience Project (URP) as part of its early warning systems component.

UKZN Component Coordinator, Dr Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi, thanked attendees for attending and noted that interactions between the organisations represented had been happening at a technical level, with these official agreements giving context and meaning to those interactions.

The purpose of the workshop was to delineate a way forward, with the ultimate purpose of the agreements to produce tangible outputs for implementation that will benefit ordinary citizens.

The DEA's Sibonelo Mbanjwa, Director of Climate Change Adaptation and Natural Resources, said the importance of these agreements was in the context of national efforts to develop resilient societies.

'This project provides great opportunity and potential for us to demonstrate what we can do as a country in terms of climate services,' said Mbanjwa.December 2017 E-News article_2Front Row (left to right): Mr Kevin Meier (UW), Professor Albert Modi (UKZN), Mr Jerry Lengoasa (SAWS) and Mr Sibonelo Mbanjwa (DEA). 

Professor Albert Modi, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES), spoke about the focus of UKZN's relevant research on rural economic development, water use efficiency and productivity, especially the URP project with the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM).

Modi expressed excitement at the signing of these agreements, and said that in the context of UKZN's increasing focus on the quality of its research outputs and on making research relevant to society, this kind of collaborative work would be important.

SAWS Chief Executive Officer Mr Jerry Lengoasa expressed delight at the signing of these agreements, noting their importance but emphasising that their value is in implementation, for which practitioners and partnerships are essential.

'Working with you as the three institutions is a translation of a vision into practice,' said Lengoasa.

Lengoasa also noted the importance of creating earth systems scientists through training students and preparing institutions to solve tomorrow's problems. Part of the agreement will involve making data from SAWS available to research institutions.

Mr Kevin Meier of UW noted that while their work was more operational than research-based, this agreement will be a huge step forward toward being able to plan better for flood and drought events. He noted a gap in climate change data for research and said the agreement is useful for research to get where it is needed.

Ms Lungi Ndlovu of UMDM said the meeting represented a meeting of minds, and an opportunity to implement and deliver information and services that benefit all citizens. 

Savings group loan helps livestock farmer dodge effects of climate change 

Author: Shelagh Mcloughlin and Geniene Nero (Save Act)

Katrina Schwartz, a small-scale farmer from tiny Leliefontein near the Namibian border, is used to harsh weather conditions. But in this Namaqualand semi-desert, which averages only 200mm of rainfall per annum, she and the other farmers who graze livestock on communal land are battling with the effects of climate change.

Schwartz (52) is married with two sons and has been a farmer for 30 years. She also has a job with Conservation South Africa (CSA) as a supervisor in the National Resource Management project. She has a total of 80 animals — including 30 goats, 42 sheep and eight cattle— that require sustenance but she's been struggling to provide this, with overgrazing and water shortages a constant problem on the farm she leases from the municipality.December 2017 E-News article_3aAbove: Leliefontein small-scale livestock farmer Katrina Schwartz (Photo credit: Arthur Cloete) 

Schwartz says since 2010 there has been a change in the weather patterns and conditions have worsened over the years. "Summer is dryer and the winters are cold with less rainfall than in the past. There is little grazing for our animals. The situation is really concerning because animals die and some farmers lose the only income that they have."

Thanks to SaveAct she was able to do something about her predicament, and recently moved her animals to new land that will provide better grazing while giving the old area a chance to recuperate. This would not have been possible without access to a loan from the savings group she joined two years ago after working closely with the Namakwa Facilitating Agency (Conservation South Africa). This came after SaveAct submitted a project application to the Small Grants Facility, to establish savings groups that help local people build resilience to changing weather. There are now 2 groups in Leliefontein and 10 in Namaqualand altogether. 

"The loan made it possible for me to buy fuel for transport, pay the people that helped me move and buy food for them. The farm is 67km from Leliefontein and they had to stay over for the night," she says. She'll pay rent for the new land, which is owned by the government, and her husband and son will take care of the animals.

Without the loan she would have had to resort to borrowing money with crippling repayment conditions. Instead, she's repaying her savings group at the agreed pace as per their constitution, and the interest goes back into the group.

SaveAct field officer Geniene Nero says before savings groups were introduced to Namaqualand local people were forced to borrow money with very high interest rates, which lead to a cycle of debt and poverty in the region. " With the SaveAct model they are learning to be financially smart and independent, and poverty is being reduced in the long run," she says.

December 2017 E-News article_3bDepartment of Environmental Affairs and the South African National Biodiversity Institute finalise the development of Ecosystem-based Adaptation guidelines 

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), working closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), recently finalised the development of South Africa's Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) guidelines. The EbA Guideline Document is one of the deliverables of the South African Ecosystem-based Adaptation Strategy (2016-2021).

The Guideline Document incorporates inputs and comments following public consultation workshops with different stakeholders such as academic institutions, Non-Government Organisations, the private sector and cross sectoral government departments.

The consultative process led to the development of an accessible tool which gives a more lucid clarity on the scope of EbA, its main principles and criteria for identifying appropriate EbA projects following the development of the EbA Strategy.December 2017 E-News article_4Please click here to access the Final EbA Guideline document.

For effective capacity development across different audiences, the document has been tailored for different user-groups such as programme developers, policy makers, potential funders and EbA researchers to understand, identify and implement EbA interventions.

SANBI is currently in the process of developing a more condensed EbA Glossy/booklet which will further improve the uptake of EbA in South Africa and build people's capacity to understand Ecosystem-based Adaptation.

Need for Climate Resilient Farming Emphasised at UKZN-Hosted Workshop  

Author: Christine Cuénod (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

The importance of introducing climate resilient agriculture was highlighted at a workshop on UKZN's Ukulinga Research Farm. Researchers from the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) who are involved in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality's (UMDM) uMngeni Resilience Project (URP), hosted the half-day workshop at UKZN's Ukulinga Research Farm to focus on capacity building within the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (KZNDARD).

The URP is a climate change adaptation project funded by the global Adaptation Fund through the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). It includes a component that is aimed at improving capacity and sharing learnings between communities leading the implementation of early warnings systems, climate-proof settlements and climate-resistant agriculture, all of which are research targets of the URP.

This component led to the workshop - the first in a series - to train KZNDARD extension officers within uMgungundlovu on climate change adaptation. UKZN and KZNDARD maintain a working relationship under an official memorandum of understanding.

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science Professor Albert Modi, who is also the project leader for the URP, opened the workshop and thanked KZNDARD officials for their attendance as well as UMDM officials involved in the URP, Ms Lungi Ndlovu and Mr Lindokuhle Khanyile.December 2017 E-News article_5Above: Participants at a climate resilience workshop at UKZN's Ukulinga Research Farm.

'Part of this component provides the opportunity for SAEES and UKZN to support the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in mainstreaming adaptation practices into its extension services and farmer support programmes,' said Modi, who emphasised KZNDARD's importance in contributing to the success of the URP.

Mr Dayanand Chetty, Deputy Manager of uMgungundlovu Extension and Advisory Services at KZNDARD, thanked the University and UMDM for the opportunity and for inviting scientists, extension officers and practitioners from KZNDARD. 'There is no doubt climate change is happening,' said Chetty.

He referred to predictions of uMgungundlovu and Pietermaritzburg experiencing high intensity storms more frequently which was increasing requests for protection – such as hail netting - against disasters being received by officials in local government. This was an indication that climate-related events were beginning to impact local districts.

'That's the purpose of us having this partnership - to look at methods of how we can progress and grow our crops, what protection we can offer, and how we can overcome the challenges of a changing climate,' said Chetty.

'We are committed to the programme, we'd like to give you our full support,' he concluded.

Against the backdrop of events like the massive Durban storm in October, KZNDARD representatives emphasised the importance of the URP's goal of introducing climate resistant agriculture, which includes new and traditional ways of growing food so that farmers have enough healthy food to feed their families.  

Please email Mpfunzeni Tshindane ( to join the NIE mailing list to receive future URP and SGF project update 

See links below for NIE project updates

Climate resilient livestock introduced in Leliefontein through the SGF project

Small scale farmers observe yield increases due to the uMngeni Resilience Project (URP) interventions 

Previous Articles

October 2015

November 2015

February 2016

March 2016

May 2016

August 2016

November 2016

March 2017

April 2017 - Enviropaedia Awards

April 2017 - Planning for extreme events

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

Climate Change News

UKZN Plays Leading Role in Local Climate Change Project

Adaptation Fund Showcases SGF Project

Adaptation Fund at 10 years Pioneering Action, Innovation & Learning

Last updated on 18 December 2017
Copyright 2018 © SANBI | All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions