Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Strategy for Site Support Groups

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Adaptation and Resilience Strategy for Site Support Groups

Enhanced understanding of the actual and potential climate change hazards and their impacts at the site.

Implementation of adaptation strategies that promote ecosystem and biodiversity conservation

Contribute to global climate change mitigation.

Enhanced partnerships with relevant private and public sector stakeholders

Enhanced partnership with county government.

Integrating climate change with biodiversity monitoring.

Programme development (fund raising) for climate change adaptation, mitigation and monitoring.



here is compelling scientific evidence that the world is getting warmer. This situation brought about by increased emission of gases that trap heat, referred to as Greenhouse Gases (GHG). Carbon dioxide is the most important of these GHGs. Rainfall has also become unpredictable, with frequent flooding alternating with prolonged droughts becoming a common in most parts of Kenya. Climate change has many negative impacts on natural ecosystems, agriculture and food supplies, human health, forestry, water resources and availability, energy use, and transportation. Nearly all rural communities’ livelihoods are directly linked to natural resources and are therefore vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. For example, prolonged dry spells have frequently resulted in food insecurity, displacement of communities and intercommunity conflicts. During the annual SSG workshop in September 2012, members of different SSGs listed evidence or impacts of climate change in different Kenyan Important Bird Areas (IBAs), including: • Mount Kenya has lost most of its permanent glacier • Rainfall has become unpredictable or erratic in many sites, leading to poor timing of planting and harvesting • Mean temperatures have increased in some parts • Extreme weather conditions including frost have been observed in some IBAs, such as the Kinangop Grasslands • Prolonged drought leading to reduced water availability leading to food shortages in many sites • Flooding leading to displacement of human populations

• • • • • • • •

Loss of biodiversity, especially due to prolonged droughts and migration of human and other species to other areas Reduced water levels in wetlands, leading to reduced fish catch and loss of livelihoods Disappearance of seasonal wetlands Low livestock production Increased disease prevalence in some areas e.g malaria spreading to non-endemic areas Increased soil erosion and siltation problems Damage to infrastructure due to heavy rainfall Increased food prices


“A country with Resilient Ecosystems sustaining associated biodiversity and human livelihoods in the face of climate change.”


“To enhance partnerships between local communities, public and private sectors in order to enhance climate change adaptation and mitigation measures at the site level.”



Identification of Actual and Potential Hazards and Impacts of Climate Change on the Site

lthough local communities in IBA sites contribute very little to the global GHG emissions, they suffer the negative impacts of climate change. Some of the direct effects include long droughts, frost, flooding and the associated destruction of infrastructure, and spread of disease. Climate change also impacts on biodiversity, habitats and ecosystems that supply essential services to people. It is therefore important that each site conducts a participatory climate change vulnerability assessment. This is a process through which the local community will identify the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods, ecosystem, habitats and biodiversity. Where possible, this assessment should bring together community members, local stakeholders, scientists, and government officials (both national and county). They will need to discuss observed climate change impacts in the region and predict future effects. This will help the community plan on the best adaptation strategies. Some of questions to be answered include: • What are the main ecosystem services provided by the site and can they be measured? • What are the main climatic and other hazards that impact on the livelihoods of local communities and on species, ecosystems and ecosystem services and species? • What are the most important climate related hazards and how are they likely to change with time? • What are the observed and/or projected climate change impacts for the site and/or linked ecological zones? • What are the ecosystem services/livelihoods/economic sectors/species/habitats/ecosystems that are likely to be impacted on by climate change? • What actions can be taken to deal with the hazards? • Who are the stakeholders that the SSG can work with in climate change matters? • Which segments of the community are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate chnage?

Identify and Prioritize Appropriate Adaptation Strategies


ecause climate change is a reality, the local communities must adapt to climate change or perish. The best way to identify appropriate adaptations is through a participatory process. SSGs will be able to advocate for adaptation strategiesthat integrates the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into an overall strategy. These so called Ecosystem based Adaptation (EbA) strategies include: • Protecting and restoring water catchment areas: Protecting water catchment areas and replanting native vegetation reduces the risk of water shortages, floods and landslides. It also reduces sedimentation impacts on dams and wetlands and on coastal and marine ecosystems. • Protecting and restoring mangroves: Local communities can reduce their vulnerability to coastal erosion, cyclones and storm surges by conserving mangrove forests. Mangroves also protect the eggs and young of many types of fish and shellfish. • Protection and restoration of river banks: This will help in water and soil conservation and in controlling flooding. Riverbanks with native vegetation are also corridors for migratory species, and habitat for pollinators that ensure sustainable agricultural production. • Development and implementation of natural resource management plans including Land Use Plans • Protecting key corridors to save migratory species Depending on the climate change impacts on a site, and the livelihoods of the local community, other adaptations strategies that can be used in include: • Dyke construction if flooding is identified as serious problem. • Irrigation but employing water conservation techniques. • Diversifying livelihoods: Explore opportunities for income generating activities which are conservation-friendly (eg non timber forest products, butterfly farming). • For agricultural communities, choice of appropriate crop and seed varieties, depending on whether the conditions have become wetter or drier.

• For livestock farmers – change of breed – destocking when necessary • Insurance schemes • Early warning systems • Drought tolerant crop varieties • Planting dates adjustment • Rainwater storage • Migration of people, their livestock and also of wildlife during periods of extreme weather conditions i.e. drought, or flooding • Adjustment of crop variety: crops that are water resistant (in areas prone to flooding) and drought resistant crops in case the problem is drought • Improved land management • Tree planting along rivers to reduce, conserve water sheds and reduce siltation • Providing clean water to avoid water borne diseases • Awareness creation

Once appropriate adaptation methods have been identified, prioritize in order to determine which methods to employ. Keep in mind that some of the adaptation strategies might offer short-term benefits but increase the vulnerability of the communities in the long-term. Be aware that some of the adaptation strategies can indeed cause irreparable damage to the ecosystem and loss of vital ecosystem services. Therefore SSG members need to critically evaluate projects proposed by development partners, including national and county governments, to ensure that the integrity of the ecosystems is not compromised.

Mitigation to Climate Change


itigation to climate change refers to efforts to reduce or eliminate the human contribution to global warming. This may be done through reduction of greenhouse gases by either reducing their sources or by increasing their sinks. Local communities at the site level can contribute to mitigation of climate change by avoiding deforestation, restoring ecosystems, practicing reforestation and on-farm forestry. Reforestation projects Planting trees in degraded forest land. Plant native species in areas that were previously forested. Livelihood improvement for the local community can be through purchasing tree seedlings from community nurseries; employing local people as casuals during planting, maintenance and monitoring.

Mechanisms to reduce forest use of firewood and charcoal The carbon worth will be calculated based on the amount of fuel wood saved: • Use new technologies and renewable energies, for instance: ○○ Use energy-efficient stoves ○○ Use solar panels for lighting, solar cookers and solar water heaters ○○ Use biogas or cooking (LPG) gas as a cooking fuel ○○ Use pressure cookers for quicker cooking • Plant trees on-farm tree to provide fuel wood, pole wood and timber for building • Use briquettes as a substitute for charcoal and fuel wood. Briquettes are made from waste paper, sawdust, coffee husks, etc, instead of cutting down trees • Purify drinking water without boiling, eg by use of UV treatment • Use basket food warmers • Set up wind mills to produce electricity (but they should be located where they cause minimal negative impacts on biodiversity)

• Changing management practices or consumer behavior • Protecting natural carbon sinks like forests and oceans, or creating new sinks through tree planting or green agriculture, are also elements of mitigation. • Promotion of conservation agriculture - Conservation agriculture causes minimum soil disturbance, maximizes on cover and involves crop rotation and mulching Conservation agriculture ensures that Carbon absorbed by growing plants is stored in the soil for longer periods. • Alternative construction materials - Plastic poles instead of timber for fencing e.g. Kayole plastic recycling plant in Nairobi, planting of more exotic bamboo species.

Stakeholders Identification Suggested primary stakeholders for SSGs are: • County government ministries with responsibility for conservation, development, tourism, education, among others • Nature Kenya and other NGOs and CBOs engaged with climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation and education • National government ministries, agencies and departments responsible for conservation, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, environment, etc. • Private sector • Religious institutions • Political leaders • Community members • Schools For effective engagement with stakeholders, each SSG needs to develop its own strategic plan with objectives based on site-specific conservation and livelihood challenges. The SSG will then identify the interests of each of the stakeholders, and determine the ones that they must work with. Each SSG needs to revitalize its community outreach programme, targeting identified stakeholders including members of the public, schools and other institutions. In addition, the SSGs will organize and/or participate in international and national conservation awareness days like World Environment Day and national tree planting days. Coalitions with other CBOs will greatly enhance conservation advocacy work at the county level.

Enhanced Partnership with County Governments


SGs recognize that County Governments are a special stakeholder with whom to implement their activities, including climate change policy for the site. It is therefore crucial to explore ways of working with respective county governments on climate change. • Understand national and county environmental policies and legislation especially as they relate to climate change • Understand the structure of the county government • Develop MoUs with county governments • Identify other stakeholders within the county with interest in conservation and/or climate change and where needed partner to form climate change and environmental advocacy groups • Partner with government in organizing awareness creation to the community • Seek financial support from local government as appropriate • Involve county governments in SSG work • Attend county meetings on environmental issues • Advocate policies concerning climate change to the community • Work closely with Director of Environment in the county • Plan site visits with the sub-county environmental committee to check the status of IBA sites.

Integrating Climate Change with Biodiversity Monitoring


SGs will integrate basic climate change monitoring with ongoing basic, detailed and common bird monitoring. Basic climate data to be collected will include daily rainfall and minimum and maximum temperatures. To implement this, SSGs will work with local schools in which “weather stations� will be established. The weather stations will also act as a teaching aid to schools thus enriching the education and outreach activities of the SSGs.

Programme Development (Resource Mobilization)


SGs will work with other stakeholders to mobilize resources to implement this strategy. In addition, they will ensure that all proposals they develop will help in the implementation of at least part of this strategy. Where appropriate, the SSGs will take advantage of meetings and workshops (including annual general meetings) at their sites. Such meetings will be used to develop their site’s climate change policy and identify potential opportunities linked to adaptation and mitigation. SSGs will reach out to private sector companies to convince them to invest their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) resources in conservation. In addition, SSGs need to identify private sector players with interest in conservation with whom they can promote conservation enterprises beneficial to the SSG and to the private sector.

Published by Nature Kenya - the East Africa Natural History Society P.O. Box 44486 GPO, Nairobi 00100, Kenya Phone (+254) (0) 20 3537568, 0751 624312, 0771 343138 Fax (+254) (0) 20 3741049 Email: Website:

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