DECCMA Ghana release short film summarising their research findings and impacts

DECCMA Ghana has released a short film that summarises its research activities, findings and impacts from four years of investigation into climate change, migration and adaptation in the Volta delta. In the clip, DECCMA researchers Sam Codjoe, Kwasi Appeaning-Addo, Mumuni Abu and Cynthia Addoquaye-Tagoe, and coordinator Gertrude Owusu, highlight how the project has engaged with stakeholders and built relationships in order to inform policy. Chair of the National Expert Advisory Group, Honourable Clement Humado, also outlines why he accepted the role and how the project has benefited the country.

Exploring the impact of out-migration and how it impacts women’s ability to adapt to weather hazards: key insights from the Indian Bengal Delta

by Lindsay Jane Sian Roberts

The vulnerability of delta environments is increasingly recognised, with a multitude of stressors threatening the lives of communities and re-shaping livelihood decisions. As a vulnerable and marginalised group, women experience this the most acutely.

Migration is recognised as one of three sustainable livelihood strategies, alongside livelihood diversification and agricultural intensification. Within the Indian Bengal delta, men are most likely to migrate with women often left behind to look after the household and livelihoods. There is limited research exploring the impacts of out-migration and the adaptive strategies women undertake. To gain further insight into out-migration and add to my analysis of the DECCMA household survey data, I undertook interviews for my Masters dissertation in the villages of Dulki and Sonagar (the dissertation is available here).

Migration impacts depend on circumstances

The impacts of out-migration depend on the reason and type of the migration – for example whether it was involuntary or voluntary, or permanent or seasonal.  The extent to which women are affected by out-migration depends on their social support networks at home.  For those women with supportive friends, relatives and neighbours, this can counteract the increased loneliness and isolation that results from losing the daily presence of a family member.

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Remittances are an important enabler of proactive adaptive strategies

Remittances play an important role in supporting women when a household member migrates. When remittances are received, they can enable women to employ proactive adaptive strategies to reduce risks of climate change.  Such strategies can include stopping working outside the home and increasing social interaction. However, not all households receive remittances. 

Empowerment and Decision-Making

Women often become the de facto household head during out-migration, and in turn they assume responsibility for decisions that might otherwise be made by their husbands. Findings show that decision making powers are often transferred to the women when men migrate, which had implications for the adaptive strategies they undertake. Participation in self-help groups is an example of a strategy that empowers women to make choices that affect their lives and, in turn the adaptive strategies they undertake.

Overcoming Fieldwork Challenges

Together with my fellow University of Southampton students, I experienced several challenges during fieldwork from weather to undertaking research. These challenges were all overcome with preparation and assistance from the Jadavpur University team. I became close friends with my research assistant translator, who aided my research extensively. She was not only responsive and considerate during interviews, allowing me and the interviewee to engage across two languages, but we had insightful talks about the gender representation within England and India, helping me gain further context for my research. As well as the team, all the delta women were extremely welcoming, inviting and accommodating, which allowed me to conduct 17 interviews during my time in the delta.

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Special issue “Delineating climate change impacts on biophysical conditions in deltas” in Science of the Total Environment

A special issue of Science of the Total Environment on “Delineating climate change impacts on biophysical conditions in deltas” has just been published, edited by DECCMA team members Kwasi Appeaning Adddo, Anisul Haque, Chris Hill, Robert Nicholls, Venkat Raju, Paul Whitehead. The special issue contains the following DECCMA papers:

Arto, I., García-Muros, X. Cazcarro, I., González-Eguino, M., Markandya, A. and Hazra, S. 2019. The socioeconomic future of deltas in a changing environment. Science of the Total Environment 648, 1284-1296.

Dunn, F.E., Nicholls, R.J., Darby, S.E., Cohen, S., Zarfl, C. and Fekete, B.M. 2018. Projections of historical and 21st century fluvial sediment delivery to the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna, Mahanadi and Volta delta. Science of the Total Environment 642, 105-116.

Hossain, M.A.R., Ahmed, M., Ojea, E. and Fernandes, J.A. 2018. Impacts and responses to environmental change in coastal livelihoods of south-west Bangladesh. Science of the Total Enivronment 637-638, 954-970.

Hossain, M.A.R., Das, I., Genevier, L., Hazra, S., Rahman, M., Barange, M. and Fernandes, J.A. 2018. Biology and fisheries of Hilsa shad in Bay of Bengal. Science of the Total Environment 651(2), 1720-1734.

Janes, T., MacGrath, F., Macadam, I. and Jones, R. 2019. High-resolution climate projections for South Asia to inform climate impacts and adaptation studies in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Mahanadi deltas. Science of the Total Environment 650(1), 1499-1520.

Kebede, A.S., Nicholls, R.J., Allan, A., Arto, I., Cazcarro, I., Hill, C.T., Hutton, C.W., Kay, S., Lázár, A.N., Macadam, I., Fernandes, J.A., Palmer, M., Suckall, N., Tompkins, E.L., Vincent, K. and Whitehead, P.W., 2018. Applying the global RCP-SSP-SPA scenario framework at sub-national scale: A multi-scale and participatory scenario approach. Science of the Total Environment 635, 659-672.

Lauria, V., Das, I., Hazra, S., Cazcarro, I., Arto, I., Kay, S., Ofori-Danson, P., Ahmed, M., Hossain, A.R., Barange, M. and Fernandes, J.A. 2018. Importance of fisheries for food security across three climate change vulnerable deltas. Science of the Total Environment 640-641, 1566-1577.

Li, J., Whitehead, P.G., Appeaning-Addo, K., Amisigo, B., Macadam, I., Janes, T., Crossman, J., Nicholls, R.J., McCartney, M. and Rodda, H.J.E. 2018. Modeling future flows of the Volta River system: Impacts of climate change and socio-economic changes. Science of the Total Environment 637-638, 1069-1080.

Li, J., Whitehead, P.G., Rodda, H., Macadam, I. and Sarkar, S. 2018. Simulating climate change and socio-economic change impacts on flows and water quality in the Mahanadi river system, India. Science of the Total Environment 637-638, 907-917.

Mukhopadhyay, A., Ghosh, P., Chanda, A., Ghosh, A., Ghosh, S., Das, S. Ghosh, T. and Hazra, S. 2018. Threats to coastal communities of Mahanadi delta due to imminent consequences of erosion-Present and near future. Science of the Total Environment 637-638, 717-729.

Pathak, D., Whitehead, P.G., Futter, M.N. and Sinha, R. 2018. Water quality assessment and catchment-scale nutrient flux modeling in the Ramganga River Basin in north India: An application of INCA model. Science of the Total Environment 637-638, 201-215.

Rahman, M., Dustegir, M., Karim, R., Haque, A., Nicholls, R.J., Darby, S.E., Nakagawa, H., Hossain, M., Dunn, F.E. and Akter, M. 2018. Recent sediment flux to the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta system. Science of the Total Environment 643, 1054-1064.

Suckall, N., Tompkins, E.L., Nicholls, R.J., Kebede, A.S., Lázár, A.N., Vincent, K., Allan, A., Chapman, A., Rahman, R., Ghosh, T., Hutton, C. and Mensah, A. 2018. A framework for identifying and selecting long term adaptation policy directions for deltas. Science of the Total Environment 633, 946-957.

Whitehead, P.G., Jin, L., Macadam, I., Janes, T., Sarkar, S., Rodda, H.J.E., Sinha, R. and Nicholls, R.J. 2018. Modelling impacts of climate change and socio-economic change on the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Meghna, Hooghly and Mahanadi river systems in India and Bangladesh. Science of the Total Environment 636, 1362-1372.

Whitehead, P., Bussi, G., Hossain, M.A., Dolk, M., Das, P., Comber, S., Peters, R., Charles, K.J., Hope, R., and Hossain, R. 2018. Restoring water quality in the polluted Turag-Tongi-Balu river system, Dhaka: Modelling nutrient and total coliform intervention strategies, Science of the Total Environment 633, 946-957.

New release “Climate change, migration and adaptation in deltas. Key findings from the DECCMA project”

DECCMA has just released a new publication, “Climate change, migration and adaptation in deltas. Key findings from the DECCMA project” available to download in optimal resolution (15MB) and lower resolution (6MB). The publication summarises our key findings on the present and future situation of deltas, highlights some of the impacts our research has had on policies and plans in Bangladesh, India and Ghana, and reflects on the capacity that has been built through the DECCMA project.

Recording available of panel discussion on the coastal and marine implications of 1.5ºC global warming

To mark the release of the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5ºC, the University of Southampton hosted a panel discussion focusing on the coastal and marine implications and relevance for the Paris Agreement. Among the panelists were DECCMA Principle Investigator Professor Robert Nicholls and researcher Dr Sally Brown, who led the recent paper in the journal Regional Environmental Change that outlines the implications of sea level rise under 1.5ºC, 2ºC and 3ºC in deltas, and was a lead author on the IPCC special report. A video recording of the panel discussion is now available.

DECCMA researchers Robert Nicholls (far right) and Sally Brown (second from right) participate in the panel discussion

University of Southampton hosts panel discussion on coastal and marine implications of 1.5ºC global warming

To mark the release of the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5ºC, the University of Southampton is today hosting a panel discussion focusing on the coastal and marine implications and relevance for the Paris Agreement. Among the panelists will be DECCMA Principle Investigator Professor Robert Nicholls and researcher Dr Sally Brown, who led the recent paper in the journal Regional Environmental Change that outlines the implications of sea level rise under 1.5ºC, 2ºC and 3ºC in deltas, and was a lead author on the IPCC special report. A summary of the discussion will be posted here shortly after the event.

 

 

Profiling our stakeholders: Keta Municipal Planning Officer in Ghana

by Prosper Adiku and Gertrude Owusu

During the monitoring and evaluation of the DECCMA Ghana project, it came to light that the Planning Officer for the Keta Municipal Assembly has been making efforts to incorporate some of the learnings from the DECCMA project engagements. This feature article highlights his involvement in the DECCMA project and how useful the learnings from the project have been to him as a Municipal Planning Officer of the Keta Municipal Assembly.

The DECCMA project through the Ghana research team has engaged with stakeholders at the national and district levels. Notable among these stakeholders has been the engagement with the Municipal Planning Officer for one of the Ghana project districts, Mr John Ntibrey.

John Ntibrey, Municipal Planning Officer, Keta Municipality

Mr Ntibrey has twelve years of experience as a Senior Development Planning Officer and has been working in the Keta Municipal Assembly for the past three years. His involvement with the DECCMA project started in late 2016, having participated in a stakeholder engagement workshop at Sogakope where interim project findings were presented. Subsequently, he took part in the National Expert Advisory Group (NEAG) meeting in 2017 as well as the district stakeholders validation workshop in January 2018. He also participated in the DECCMA-led field visit to the Keta Municipality during an FAO workshop in December 2017.

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These engagements have influenced Mr Ntibrey personally and contributed to his personal capacity and work. According to him, the ‘engagement was great and it has enlightened my understanding into the delta management and it attendant challenges’. He indicated that the key impact areas resulting from the DECCMA engagements include; improvement in planning skills (through the incorporation of vulnerability issues), understanding of migration in the delta, an improved understanding of the impact of climate change on social and economic life, and adaptation issues. As a development planner, the engagements have further enhanced his understanding of the conditions that promote migration and its outcomes as well as the governance mechanisms that promote or hinder migration of men and women in deltas.

On the overall impact of the project as a result of the various engagements, Mr Ntibrey noted ‘‘…the project in general has enlightened a planner on how the lives within the Volta delta have been affected in terms of their vulnerability, migration issues and the adaptability. It’s been amazing how the various work packages have dealt with the various expertise. It has also built our desire to take the life of the people living in the various deltas seriously’’.

Mr Ntibrey also made some recommendations for future engagement of policy-makers and practitioners in research projects. These included deeper involvement of stakeholders in the collection and analysis of project data and visits to other project partner countries to promote the sharing of first-hand knowledge and information on delta management. He further called for the extension of the DECCMA project in Ghana to ensure wider dissemination of the research.

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Reflections on HI-AWARE’s 5th Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Science conference in Kathmandu

by Katharine Vincent

Last week I was privileged to attend the 5th Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Science conference, which also served as the final workshop for DECCMA’s sister project within the CARIAA programme-Himalayan Adaptation, Water and Resilience (HI-AWARE). Whilst DECCMA is investigating climate change and adaptation in deltas, the biophysical “hotspot” in which HI- AWARE focuses is glacier and snowpack-dependent river basins, which include the Indus, Upper Ganga, Gandaki and Teesta river basins in Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

David Molden (DG of ICIMOD), Maheshwar Dhakal (Ministry of Forests and Environment) and Flip Wester (PI of HI-AWARE)

The conference was split into 2 days – the first had the theme “gendered vulnerability”, and the second was a launch of HI-AWARE final products.

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On the first day community members had been invited from the project pilot sites across the four countries. It was very inspiring to hear how the pilot adaptations are actively reducing people’s vulnerability to climate change: through climate-smart agriculture in Pakistan, eco-san toilets in India, and flood-resistant houses in Bangladesh. The gentleman from Bangladesh reported that, whilst he was with us, neighbours were sheltering in his home as the Teesta had flooded and his was one of the few houses that had not been submerged.

HI-AWARE’s findings on gendered vulnerability were presented from case studies upstream, midstream and downstream in each basin. New “genderscapes” are being produced, particularly as a result of migration. Whilst individual women may be empowered with new decision-making capacity when their husbands leave, the institutions have not caught up with these evolving gender norms and thus can still act to impede gender-equitable access to services and facilities. Building on our CARIAA-wide synthesis work on gender-related findings, I participated (alongside colleagues from PRISE and ASSAR) in a panel discussion highlighting results of our qualitative comparative analysis of 25 cases, and the predominant conditions that can support or dampen women’s agency.

On the second day, the HI-AWARE team launched 15 briefing papers describing key findings relating to the projected magnitude of climate change in mountains, heat stress, water availability (for agriculture and urban use), flooding and critical climate moments (in adaptation pathways). This was followed by presentations on their approach to research into use – or research impact – activities, knowledge management/communications, and M&E.

In addition to the content findings, one of my favourite parts of the conference was when HI-AWARE-supported postgraduate students (“fellows”) and early career researchers, communicators and practitioners talked about their journeys as part of the project, and how it has affected their career paths. The confidence and skills gained by these young men and women was obvious, and their enthusiasm and commitment inspiring. Almost all of them also spoke about their improved knowledge and understanding of gender and the importance of communicating research findings for impact. Both of these elements are things we have also prioritised in DECCMA and are, I believe, essential for transdisciplinary research that is effective in enabling socially-equitable adaptation to climate change.

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