Climate Change Climate and Variability in Southern Africa: Impacts and Adaptation in the Agricultural Sector

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This paper proposes to discuss the current vulnerability of the southern African region to climate variability, the projected impacts of climate change and the various strategies and policies that are being deployed to address climate issues, focussing mainly on the agricultural sector. The potential role of research and technology in building a resilient agriculture is also analysed. Why climate variability and climate change? While in the international climate negotiations some parties consider the two as totally different processes and insist that they should be treated separately, there is growing evidence that some link can be established between climate variability and climate change. It is now widely accepted that climate change will, among others, lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of climatic extremes such as droughts and floods, some of the very elements that define climate variability. This report does not intend to be a policy document. Its aim is simply to take stock of the existing knowledge that could be useful in the formulation of adaptation strategies geared at improving the resilience of the rural communities in southern Africa, who depend heavily on agriculture for their livelihood.

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