Special Issue on Enhancing Resilience to Climate and Ecosystem Changes in Semi-Arid Africa
Kazuhiko Takeuchi and Edwin Akonno Gyasi
In 2011, a collaborative project focused on climate and ecosystem change adaptation and resilience studies in Africa (CECAR-Africa) with Ghana as the focal country, was initiated. The goal was to combine climate change and ecosystem change research, and to use that combination as a basis for building an integrated resilience enhancement strategy as a potential model for semi-arid regions across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Project is being financially supported by the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS), a collaborative programme of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). CECAR-Africa involves the following leading climate and ecosystems research organizations in Ghana and Japan: The University of Tokyo; Kyoto University; United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS); University of Ghana; Ghana Meteorological Agency; University for Development Studies; and United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNUINRA).
CECAR-Africa has been operating fully since 2012, with a focus on three thematic areas, namely: Forecast and assessment of climate change impact on agro-ecosystems (Agro-ecosystem resilience); Risk assessment of extreme weather hazards and development of adaptive resource management methods (Engineering resilience); and Implementing capacity development programs for local communities and professionals (social institutions-technical capacity development) using the assessment results derived from work on the first two themes.
This special issue presents major outcomes of the Project so far. The articles featured used various techniques and methods such as field surveys, questionnaires, focal group discussions, land use and cover change analysis, and climate downscaled modelling to investigate the impacts of climate and ecosystem changes on river flows and agriculture, and to assess the local capacity for coping with floods, droughts and disasters, and for enhancing the resilience of farming communities.
We are happy to be able to publish this special issue just in time for an international conference on CECAR-Africa in Tamale, Ghana, on 6-7 August, 2014. It is hoped that the shared research outcomes will facilitate discussions on the project research themes and interactions and exchange of ideas among academics, professionals, and government officials on the way forward for the CECARAfrica Project.
We find it only appropriate to conclude by thanking the authors and reviewers of the articles, and by acknowledging, with gratitude, the local knowledge and other bits and pieces of information contributed by the many anonymous farmers and other people of northern Ghana.