Monitoring and assessment to understand impacts on land and water resources

Published Date
April 01, 2019
Published by
ICARDA Communication Team
FAO NENA Land and Water Days
FAO NENA Land and Water Days

ICARDA at the NENA Land & Water Days on 1 April 2019: At this session, ICARDA and partners address the issue of climate change and its worsening impacts on land, water resources, agriculture, and ecosystems in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region. The session aims to inform stakeholders of the findings and lessons learned from applying monitoring and assessment techniques that draw upon regional knowledge databases and established modeling tools.

The session will showcase the development and application of region-specific datasets, toolkits, models, and methods to help provide farmers and researchers with critical and timely information to consider climate change impacts on agricultural productivity and water resource vulnerability. The scope will focus, in particular, on water-dependent sectors to inform climate change adaptation/mitigation and efforts to strengthen regional resilience.

The context

The NENA region represents a substantial area of the world’s terrestrial landmass, encompassing several countries and ecosystems. This region is generally drier and warmer compared to the rest of the world and has extreme resource limitations that are highly vulnerable to a changing climate. According to recent estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), most of the NENA region is expected to become hotter and drier in the coming years based on global and regional climate modeling projections. Higher temperatures and reduced precipitation in most areas will increase the occurrence of extreme events, particularly drought and flash floods, and expose an estimated 80 to 100 million people to water stress and food insecurity by 2025. The situation will also reduce freshwater availability and increase the extraction of rapidly depleting non-renewable groundwater resources, threatening sustainability in the short- and longer-term.

It is, therefore, becoming increasingly clear that climate change is threatening the viability of agriculture, ecosystems, and rural livelihoods in the region, and is leading to unprecedented socio-economic challenges, while also exacerbating social and political tensions. Thus, while it is important to understand the nature of climate dynamics in the region, it is also important to understand the impact of extreme weather events, floods, and droughts on agricultural and ecological systems.

Considerable work has been undertaken to understand the complexity of climate variability and its impact on land, water, and agricultural sector vulnerability to inform the development of adequate monitoring and assessment methods that can enhance resilience and effectively integrate climate change considerations into national policies and strategies. Such efforts can play a significant role in narrowing the gap between understanding the science of climate change and developing evidence-informed development and adaptation policies. 

In this context, and in an attempt to provide effective advice and proactive measures to sustain livelihoods, primarily based on agriculture and livestock, this session will discuss the following topics:

  1. Informing the science-policy interface through regional projections, datasets and access to knowledge;
  2. Assessing the impacts of climate change on water availability and agricultural productivity due to climate change;
  3. Monitoring and evaluating the impact of climate change on land, water, and other natural resources.

The session will serve as a platform for fostering dialogue and exchanging ideas based on regional and national experience and lessons learned by policy makers, stakeholders and development partners. It will also provide an opportunity to kick-start ideas for new partnerships, networks, scientific projects, and holistic system-oriented efforts that address various aspects of climate change through research for development projects.

Diverse organizations have been invited to showcase what they are doing in the NENA region to address climate change and its implications for natural resources, including land and water. It is through a diversified set of experiences that this session will be increasingly relevant in the context of the NENA Land and Water Days event. It provides both a solid understanding about the nature of climate change and its plausible impact on land and water in various ecosystems and agroecosystems throughout the NENA, while anticipating an opportunity to bring these issues together to provide informed policy development.

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