ClIMaTE CHanGE, adaPTaTIOn and HIGHEr EduCaTIOn: securing ... leadership Dialogue Series... · ClIMaTE…

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  • sarua leadership dialogue series volume 2 number 4

    ClIMaTE CHanGE, adaPTaTIOn and HIGHEr EduCaTIOn: securing Our Future

    www.sarua.org

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    sarua leadership dialogue series volume 2 number 4 2010

    series Editor: Piyushi Kotecha

    ClIMaTE CHanGE, adaPTaTIOn and HIGHEr EduCaTIOn: securing Our Future

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    FOrEWOrdAs a borderless and unpredictable phenomenon, multi-faceted in nature, climate change impacts on all of our lives. It therefore poses a significant challenge to our governments, international development agencies, scientists, scholars and ordinary citizens world-wide. On the southern tip of Africa, we may share some small moral comfort because we have not produced the scale of industrial emissions allegedly behind the changes in global weather patterns but we shall not be spared any of its effects. We may, in fact, be more vulnerable than any other region.

    What does this mean for the public universities in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, committed to responding to the development challenges of the region? How can the universities contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon itself through their core missions of teaching, research and community engagement and, more importantly, build the capacities that will enable the region and its people to prepare for and to cope with some of its effects? What changes will be required to the pedagogical approaches and epistemological models currently employed by our universities, and how can the universities of the region collaborate to ensure that scarce resources and expertise on these matters are leveraged to the best effect?

    In order to address questions such as these, SARUA drew together a number of leading experts within their fields from across the SADC region, to present and discuss their views with Vice Chancellors at a two day dialogue event titled Climate Change, adaptation and Higher Education: Securing our future held from 21-22 October 2010 in Mauritius. The papers presented at this conference have been reproduced in full in this publication together with a Framework for Action on Climate Change, which emerged on the second day as a result of the work of the various commissions of Vice-Chancellors and experts.

    Collectively, the papers give an overview of the likely impacts and effects of climate change on the southern African region, over the next decade and beyond. Specific challenges and vulnerabilities are highlighted in the areas of agriculture, food security, water security, biodiversity and public health. These are presented together with strategies and actions proposed for governments and other agencies to reduce such vulnerabilities, and to better prepare our populations to survive and prosper in the changing environments of the future.

    More importantly, from the university perspective, the discussion goes beyond the outward manifestations of the problem to a critical examination of what this means for universities in terms of curriculum and teaching, research and knowledge production, and engagement with communities in the broadest sense. There is much food for thought here. The epistemological challenges and indeed, opportunities, go beyond climate change as a particular subject or focus area. These can be applied to any number of complicated theoretical and real world issues, requiring multidisciplinary approaches and involving a high degree of uncertainty, complexity and risk. This is perhaps best summarised by Heila Lotz-Sisitka in the conclusion to her paper, that such complex issues require both a

    ... transformation in teaching epistemologies, away from transfer oriented epistemologies of certainty, to more complex teaching epistemologies that recognise uncertainty, and risk.

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    ... a re-orientation of community engagement, from models of reactive responsiveness to a more pro-active, preventative engagement with potential future risks.

    Such reflective engagement with the realities of our environment and the capacity of universities to make a difference, lie at the core of academic enquiry and purposeful action. It is envisaged that the Framework for Action included here will spur relevant developmental inter-university initiatives and collaboration within the SADC region. As such the Framework for Action should be viewed as an open invitation for funders, specialist agencies and governmental Research and Development units to partner on this theme.

    Piyushi KotechaSeries EditorChief Executive OfficerSARUA

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    Published by SARUAP O Box 662 WITS2050SOUTH AFRICA

    ISBN: 978-0-9869903-1-1

    SARUA is a not-for-profit leadership association of the heads of the public universities in the 15 countries of the SADC region. Its mission is to promote, strengthen and increase higher education, research and innovation through expanded inter-institutional collaboration and capacity building initiatives throughout the region. It promotes universities as major contributors towards building knowledge economies, and towards national and regional socio-economic and cultural development, and also the eradication of poverty.

    This publication was made possible by the funding received from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of either SARUA or the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    AUTHORS: Pius Zebhe Yanda, Bruce C. Hewitson, Steve Makungwa, Dominic Mazvimavi, Heila Lotz-Sisitka, Coleen VogelSERIES EDITOR: Piyushi KotechaPUBLICATION MANAGER: Mark BurkePRODUCTION: Gail Robbins: DGR Writing & Research ccPROOFREADER: DGR Writing & Research ccDESIGN AND LAYOUT: Jamstreet Design, Cape TownPRINTING: Megadigital, Cape Town

    This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

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    COnTEnTsFOREWORD 2

    ABBREVIATIONS 8

    INTRODUCTION 9

    CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS, VULNERABILITY AND ADAPTATION IN SOUTHERN AFRICA Pius Zebhe Yanda 11 Introduction 11 Climatic Condition and Changes in Southern Africa 12 Background 12 General overview of climate change 12 Consequences of climate change 12 Climate change impacts 14 Methods and Tools for Assessing Climate Change Impacts 19 Climate Change Vulnerability 19 Climate Change Adaptation 22 The Role of Higher Education in Supporting Adaptation 28 Shortfalls in the existing university curricula 28 The need for climate change in the curricula 28 References 30

    CLIMATE CHANGE SCENARIO DEVELOPMENT IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Bruce C. Hewitson 46 Context 46 Approaches to Regional Climate Information 48 Key Elements in Understanding Regional Climate Change 52 Detection versus attribution 52 Prediction versus projection 52 Principles of developing robust messages 53 Envelopes and thresholds 53 Uncertainty 53 Building a Regional Change Message 54 A Case Study of Regional Rainfall Change 55 Historical changes in precipitation 56 GCMs: projected regional circulation changes 58 GCM native grid cell projections 60 GCM downscaled projections 61 Drawing conclusions and managing uncertainty 63 New Opportunities for Africa 65 New online resources to provide an engagement forum and integrate across communities 65 New regional climate information portals 65 New development of regional climate data 65 Commercial climate services 66 The role of tertiary education institutions 66 Closing Discussion 66 References 67

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    ADAPTATION, AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY Steve Makungwa 68 Abstract 68 Introduction and Background 68 Existing adaptation and mitigation knowledge 70 Teaching and Learning 72 Research and Knowledge Production 72 Community engagement and Collaboration 76 Conclusions 78 References 80

    CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER AVAILABLIITY AND SUPPLY Dominic Mazvimavi 81 Abstract 81 Introduction 82 Hydrological effects 82 Adaptation to Climate Change 87 Institutional and technical capacity 87 Water supply 88 Water demand management 89 Teaching and Learning 90 Research Knowledge Production 92 Community Engagement 94 Conclusion 95 References 97

    KNOWLEDGE QUESTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE RELATION: Some Implications for Universities in Southern Africa Heila Lotz-Sisitka 101 Abstract 101 Introduction 102 The Nature of the Public Health Climate Change Relation 102 How Public Health and Climate Change are Being Analysed 105 Analysing public health and climate change from a scientific evidence perspective 105 Analysing public health and climate change through the lenses of predictive modelling 106 Analysing public health and climate change within a framework of multiple stressors and vulnerability assessments 106 Analysing public health and climate change from critical political studies and philosophical perspectives 108 Analysing public health and climate change from an educational and media studies vantage point 109 Meta reviews or studies on climate change and public health 110 Knowledge