Malawi hosts climate change Southern Voices workshop

Eastern and Southern Africa civil society experts on climate change gather at Sunbird Nkopola in Mangochi, Malawi to share experiences on how their work can shape policy and planning in the region and drawing lessons for wider implications.

The workshop will be held from 23rd to 25th July 2013 under the theme “Linking local experiences with policy processes in climate change: Lessons from adaptation, sustainable energy and community forestry”.

New Minister of Environment and Climate Change Management Halima Daudi is expected to officially open the workshop on Tuesday.

A statement from the Southern Voices – East and Southern Africa said the specific objective of the workshop is to enhance participants’ understanding of the links between policy advocacy and community level activities.

Daudi: To open the workshop
Daudi: To open the workshop

“The workshop will bring together climate change networks and practitioners in Eastern and Southern Africa to share experiences on how their work at community level based can shape policy and planning in the region and drawing lessons for wider implications. In particular, community-based adaptation (CBA) has a great deal to
contribute in shaping the preparation of National Adaptation Plans for Least Developed Countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“The workshop will also provide a learning platform on advocacy around decentralized sustainable energy and pro-poor approaches to REDD,” reads the statement.

Other objectives of the workshop include sharing of experiences and lessons from CBA, sustainable energy and REDD in relation to policy and planning in the region; identifying and discussing opportunities for integrating CBA, sustainable energy and REDD in local and national planning and policy processes; and discussing mechanisms of
strengthening regional cooperation in advocacy and cross learning in the region.

The workshop is premised on the recognition that communities possess rich knowledge and skills required to cope with existing and anticipated impacts of climate change but their efforts are constrained by multiple factors including the declining natural resources base.

On the other hand, various planning and policy development processes are taking place at different levels to provide frameworks or define actions for addressing the climate challenge such as National Adaptation Plans, large scale energy projects and National Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) strategies.

The workshop is therefore designed to provide a platform for knowledge exchange among East and Southern African climate networks on bridging the gap between local realities and efforts on one hand and policy development and planning on the other.

With most of the African populations living in rural areas and depending on subsistence agriculture for livelihoods, Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change.

As well as threatening food security, climate change also puts pressure on the sustainability of fuel wood supplies, on which most Africans rely for cooking and heating.

The issues of climate change adaptation, access to energy and sustainable forest management are thus closely linked.

African communities are implementing various strategies to cope with existing and anticipated impacts of the changing conditions. Realizing meaningful impact from such efforts requires mechanisms for scaling up
supported by appropriate planning and policy instruments.

However, most local level initiatives tend to be isolated from policy processes, constraining the potential for good practices to be scaled up and implemented widely.

Furthermore, international response to climate change continues to lag behind as evidenced in the limited
availability of financial support towards response measures that address real needs and build on local efforts.

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