The EU-sponsored Project “ClimAfrica” held its second annual meeting on 19 and 20 June, 2013, in Mombasa, Kenya. This meeting was followed by a stakeholders’ meeting on June 21. SOW-VU is one of the 18 institutes participating in this project, which aims at improving climate change predictions for the African continent and assessing the impact of climate change on vulnerable groups. At the annual meeting, Lia van Wesenbeeck presented the results from a spatially detailed statistical analysis of location and characteristics of the most vulnerable populations in two selected groups of countries, one in West Africa and one in East Africa. At the stakeholder meeting, she presented the main conclusions to a forum of African policy makers and representatives of civil society.


Within West Africa, the countries selected for the poverty study include Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, while the East Africa group consists of Uganda, Sudan and South Sudan. The analysis shows that in East Africa many vulnerable people are refugees or internally displaced persons who have few options to cope with adverse conditions as they are not integrated in larger social networks and are already food insecure. For West Africa, it seems that the urban vulnerable are migrants from rural areas, with little power on labor markets and young heads of households. The full report and the executive summary are available from the project website.

At the stakeholders’ meeting, in-depth bilateral discussions were facilitated between stakeholders and project team members, providing an opportunity to discuss the assumptions made in the research and the possible direct use of the outcomes of the project for the formulation of policies that mitigate the effects of climate change through prevention or adaptation.

The coming year – the final year of the project – will be used to model the indirect effects of climate events: when disaster strikes in a particular area, transmission of the shock through migration of people, with or without herds, may lead to hardship far away from the area initially affected. Successful coping and adaptation policies must also account for these indirect effects. The “domino” model developed at SOW-VU will provide guidance in formulating and implementing such policies.