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Experts validate ECA model on socio-economic benefits of climate information services for Africa’s food-energy-water sectors

Experts in climate information services (CIS) from across the continent on Tuesday unanimously agreed and validated a report that shows CIS has socio-economic benefits (SEB) that are helpful for the food, energy and water sectors in Africa.

The experts attending a validation technical workshop on analyzing the socio-economic utility of weather and climate information services for the food-energy-water sectors on the continent agreed that extreme climate events such as droughts, heat waves and floods have huge impacts on society and ecosystems and that their trends were correlated with global climate change.

They scrutinized the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) SEB sectoral systems model which was developed to analyze climate impacts in the water, energy and agriculture sectors. The model captures the linkages between the sectors and provides information about cross-sectoral impacts, for example agriculture and water.

Mr. Frank Rutabingwa, a Senior Natural Resources Expert with the ECA, said as part of the process to demonstrate socio-economic benefits of CIS in climate sensitive sectors, the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), under the DFID-funded Weather Information and Climate Services (WISER) project, had developed a framework that help to assess the economic and social benefits of CIS compared to the costs of investments.

“The modeling work is designed to support development planning, especially in the context of climate resilience, which aims to leverage investments for greater progress for all,” said Mr. Rutabingwa.

Previous versions of the ECA WISER model were designed to assess the impact of adverse climate events on country level. The new one includes individual sectors and their linkages to other sectors; and focuses on macroeconomic performance.

The model outputs were calibrated to approximate historical developments.

The ECA WISER III model was designed to capture climate impacts at sectoral and inter-sectoral level or the nexus, an approach that recognizes the critical interdependence of food, energy and water in an increasingly resource constrained world. Application of the model was done in three countries; Uganda, Mozambique and Cameroon.

“The socio-economic benefits of Climate Information Systems are many and varied. Some are direct, some indirect and some are induced as shown in the presentations by our experts,” said Mr. Rutabingwa.

On the food-water-energy nexus or synergies, the analysis shows that including climate impacts in simulations has significant impacts on sectoral performance and costs; adaptation to climate change, to improve resilience, holds potential for both reducing the impacts of climate change and improve the baseline; and the simulation of adaptation measures indicated not only the potential to reduce costs, but the possibility to generate net benefits.

“What is most interesting in the context of the nexus approach is that several synergies emerge when linking together the agriculture, energy and water models,” Mr. Rutabingwa added.

The experts recommended that African governments incentivize the use of systemic planning across sectors, including social, economic and environmental indicators of performance; use a multi-stakeholder approach to ensure all key indicators are considered and that policies are formulated and implemented effectively in the food-water-energy nexus.

The also urged governments to support the development of new quantitative models that implement knowledge integration across disciplines, and fully account for climate science; increase investment in the collection, processing and use of weather information, including early warning systems; and invest in Climate Information Services, also to disseminate information in a timely manner.

Participants, including senior government officials, left the workshop with an improved understanding of the nexus concept; increased capacity to analyze the SEB of weather information with higher familiarity of the systems models, the integrated cost benefit analysis, the economic method used to analyze policy interventions and investments; and validated the system dynamics models for food, energy and water.



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