Building capacity for climate change adaptation in Africa

The most recent challenge to the global response to climate change is the withdrawal of the United States of America (USA) from the Paris agreement by President Donald Trump. The pull out is a climax of historical reluctance of the USA to respond to climate change. The USA under Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush failed to ratify the Kyoto protocol (Hovi et al., 2012), a tool that was considered integral with in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for state commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The failure to ratify the protocol was reportedly due to Byrd-Hagel resolution by the US senate in 1997 that prohibited US signatory to any protocol that “result into serious harm to the economy of United States”.

The reluctance of the USA to spearhead climate change action makes one question whether climate change is real or anthropogenic. However, there is scientific consensus on the issue (Oreskes, 2004; Cook et al., 2016) and studies of perceptions of world communities to climate change and associated events show that people are experiencing more frequent and intense climatic events such as floods and droughts than never before, with impacts on all way of life (Scheffers et al., 2016). In Africa, a team I am part of has compiled evidence showing that climate change is influencing all aspects of inland fisheries resources (Ogutu-ohwayo et al., 2016). Adaptation is therefore key for sustainability and the UNFCCC requires parties to increase human resource capacity to promote adaptation.

In a recent publication (book chapter), “Building Capacity for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Through Mainstreaming Climate Change in Curricula of Tertiary Training Institutions in Africa”, we present a training curriculum and manual that can be adopted in African Universities and other tertiary institutions to incorporate climate change issues in fisheries training ultimately increasing capacity for adaptation. The curriculum and manual seeks to mainstream climate change training in all aspects of fisheries so that graduates have capacity to address climate change issues in their work, which is an important aspect for adaptation.


Cook, J. et al. 2016.  Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 11(4).

Hovi, J., Sprinz, D.F. and Bang, G. 2012. Why the United States did not become a party to the Kyoto Protocol: Germany, Norwegian, and Us perspectives. European Journal of International Relations, 18(1), 129-150.

Ogutu-Ohwayo R., Natugonza, V., Musinguzi, L.,  Olokotum, M.,  Naigaga, S.,  2016. Implications of climate variability and change for African lake ecosystems, fisheries productivity, and livelihoods. Journal of Great Lakes Research. doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2016.03.004.
Oreskes, N., 2004. The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change. Science, 306(5702), 1686.

Scheffers, B., et al 2016. The broad footprint of climate change from genes to biomes to people. Science,   354(6313).

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