‘Livestock and climate change’ was the topic of a recent workshop funded by the consortium of the EU Animal Change Project and organized by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Global Research Alliance (GRA) on 2-3 February 2015, at the ILRI campus in Nairobi, Kenya.
The workshop discussed results from successful approaches for implementing climate-smart livestock systems in eastern Africa and included presentations and in-depth discussions on.
- Climate predictions for East Africa under different scenarios with implications for the livestock sector
- Mitigation and adaptation strategies that are relevant to East Africa
- Socio-economic, inventory and policy perspectives
- Future implementation strategies for livestock systems that adapt to climate change, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and increase efficiency of production
The workshop was attended by about 80 participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
Understanding state-of-the-art emissions inventories
One of the aims of the workshop was dedicated to the understanding of the current methods of estimating livestock greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, together with the challenges associated with measuring these and the country priorities for mitigation and adaptation strategies/policies.
According to the participants, most countries in the region are using Tier 1 measurement and default emissions factors from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to estimate livestock GHG emissions and only few of them (Kenya and South Africa) are implementing Tier 2 measurements. Key and common factors that limit improved estimates of GHG emissions from livestock include a lack of activity data and general absence of country-specific emissions factors. At the same time, there is limited scientific and technical expertise and equipment dedicated to monitoring emissions from livestock, although some countries have developed country-specific emission factors based on experiments and experts judgment.
A roundtable discussion at the workshop highlighted the need to continue strengthening and building emissions data and increasing the understanding of communities’ needs and limitations in adopting climate-smart agriculture. Cross-cutting efforts toward a better understanding of ‘livestock and climate change’ were considered possible at regional level if accompanied by improved data collection, standardized procedures, capacity building and data platforms together with forums/platform initiatives.
Participants identified the need for further efforts to create an enabling environment and policies for scientists working on climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives, to take advantage of opportunities that may be ‘behind the corner’ and to make livestock part of solution to the problem.
Written by Evelyn Katingi and Silvia Silvestri of ILRI.