Biosphere Reserves As Observatories For Climate Change . - UNESCO

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Biosphere Reservesas Observatories forClimate Change Adaptationin Southern AfricaBIOSPHERE RESERVESCLIMATE CHANGE OBSERVATORIESUnited NationsEducational, Scientific andCultural Organization

The Context Blyde Canyon Afrique du Sud. Linda Nienaber. ShutterstockClimate change impacts are beingobserved across the Southern Africanregion, with water-related hazardscausing massive flooding, landslidesand severe droughts, significantlyaffecting natural resources and posinga direct threat to human security.While climate change is driven byglobal processes, the solutions tooffset the negative effects of climaterisks are particularly dependenton local conditions. In this respect,UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BRs)have the potential to become globalobservatories for climate changeadaptation and mitigation.The BE RESILIENT project aims tostrengthen BRs and their communitiesto address climate change challengesand associated water-related hazards.The project will engage a set ofestablished and proposed BRs in theregion to pilot effective pathwaystowards climate change adaptation,using a multidisciplinary approacharound four main components.ProjectObjectivesThe project objective is to strengthenthe role of Biosphere Reserves inSouthern Africa as Observatoriesfor Climate Change Adaptationand to act as drivers of change anddemonstration learning sites forsustainable development and disasterrisk reduction.

THE PROJECT WILL BEIMPLEMENTED ALONG FOURDIFFERENT BUT COMPLEMENTARYLINES OF ACTION:Climate ChangeImpact AssessmentFor Biosphere Reserves to become‘real-life observatories for climatechange mitigation and adaptation’,several steps are required. First, theirvulnerability to climate change needsto be identified. The project willadopt several activities to derive thevulnerability of the BRs present in theregion.A climate change impact assessmentwill be developed in a two-tieredapproach. In the first step, a globalanalysis will be performed on theimpacts of climate change on theSouthern African region, with a focuson the identification of vulnerable BRs.In the second step, the selected BRswill be used to run a full Climate RiskInformed Decision Analysis (CRIDA).A second activity will focus onidentifying one or more climatechange indicators for each BiosphereReserve in the region. This willallow to effectively use the BRs asglobal change observatories, whilerecognizing the variability of theirenvironmental functions. This willcombine biodiversity monitoringand identification of species presentin the BRs as well as the informationobtained from remote sensing bysatellites and the environmentalparameters measured.Tool development for DisasterRisk Reduction (DRR)This component of the projectfocusses on the development andapplication of innovative climateservices, through applied researchand technology transfer, andadjustments from recent, successfullydeveloped services in other parts ofthe world. The first one addressesthe link between drought risk andfood security, providing pathways forlocal farmer communities to benefitfrom the foresight of climate scienceand remote sensing products toreduce their vulnerability to waterscarcity and unexpected crop failure.The second line of work addressesthe lack of a fully operational floodmonitoring and early warning system(MEWS) that can provide crucialinformation on potential risks atthe short term. A third line of workfocusses on the threat of landslidesthat have generated significantdamage and loss of life in BiosphereReserves. Mount Mulanje. ShutterstockLinesof ActionEducation for SustainableDevelopment and Citizen ScienceTo ensure that the lessons learntfrom the Biosphere Reserves findtheir ways into the classroom forfurther dissemination, Educationfor Sustainable Development (ESD)and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)will be further strengthened. Thisentails the development of teachermaterials that are aligned with thecurricula of primary and secondaryteaching, but that integrate elementsof ecosystemic thinking using localbiosphere elements. Additionally, theconcepts on DRR will be integratedinto the teachers’ knowledge base.The project will also focus on anactive engagement of communitiesin the BRs to bring the CitizenScience concept into maturity. Theapproach taken by the project isto build further on the educationalcomponent of the project, to engageschool communities as driversof Citizen Science. By engaginglocal communities through theirschool environment, more localizedinformation can be collected thatbenefits the accuracy of forecastsfor disaster risk reduction. This willallow to pilot the blending of CitizenScience information with regularmeteorological station networks andremote sensing data into calibrated,bias-corrected input fields for droughtand flood monitoring and earlywarning applications.A strengthened Man andBiosphere ProgrammeThe project activities are expectedto strengthen the role of BRs inSouthern Africa, using potentialBR sites to provide pathways forexpansion of the project impactas well as upscaling of the projectin later phases. The project willorganize dedicated activities to allowexchange of experiences and lessonslearnt between stakeholders in thepotential transboundary BRs in orderto facilitate their creation.Project Outputs Climate change indicators in BRsidentified CRIDA pilot case studies developed Innovative tools for DRR piloted inBRs Schools in BRs integrate concepts ofESD and DRR Citizen science activities supportdata collection for DRR Regional and transboundaryexchange of lessons learnt in BRs

QuirimbasTargetProject SitesMalawiZambiaLochinvar and Blue Lagoon ParkLower Zambezi EscarpmentHondeValleyMiddle ZambeziBIOSPHERE RESERVES COUNTRYKogelbergMount MulanjeCape West CoastSouth AfricaMalawiSouth AfricaOTHER e/ZimbabweMilangeMozambique/ZimbabweWaterbergSouth AfricaHonde ValleyZimbabweKruger to CanyonsSouth AfricaHarare WetlandsZimbabweLake ChilwaWetlandMalawiTsehlanyaneBokongLesothoCape WinelandsSouth AfricaLower ZambeziEscarpmentZambiaVhembeSouth AfricaLochinvar andBlue LagoonZambiaMiddle ZambeziZimbabweMakgadikgadiWetlandsBotswanaSouth AfricaOkavango DeltaMagaliesbergSouth AfricaGreater SossusvleiNamibi Landscape NamibiaSouth AfricaQuirimbasMozambiqueGroot MaricoSouth AfricaLubomboeSwatiniWaterbergNamibiaHarare ruger to CanyonsGroot MaricoMagaliesbergeSwatiniLubomboLesothoSouth AfricaCape West CoastMozambiqueZimbabweWaterbergGreater SossusvleiNamibi LandscapeMount sboundaryCape WinelandsGoritz ClusterGarden RouteOkavango DeltaRamsar SiteWaterbergMakgadikgadiWetlandsLake ChilwaBotswanaNamibiaKogelbergGouritz ClusterPartners & Beneficiaries UNESCO National Commissionsand IHP and MAB Committeeswill support implementation of theproject Deltares will support thedevelopment of AdaptationPathways in Biosphere Reserves Flemish Institute for TechnologicalResearch (VITO) will develop theDrought and Crop Yield MonitoringApplication US Army Corps of Engineers willsupport and co-fund the ClimateRisk Informed Decision Analysis(CRIDA) in Biosphere Reservesthrough Shared Vision Planning Princeton University / PrincetonClimate Analytics will develop theFlood Monitoring and Early WarningApplication German National Commission willsupport regional MAB activitiesvia co-funding of activities andmeetings Catholic University of Leuven(KULeuven) will develop theClimate Change Assessment andLandslide Assessment USAID Resilient Waters Programmewill co-organize activities onClimate Change Adaptation inselected Biosphere Reserves Alliance for Global WaterAdaptation (AGWA) will supportthe Climate Risk Informed DecisionAnalysis (CRIDA) in BiosphereReserves Targeted communities exposed todrought and flood risks will benefitfrom the tools developed to reducevulnerability and improve resilienceto climate variability in BRs.

BIOSPHERE RESERVESCLIMATE CHANGE OBSERVATORIESProject Contact DetailsUNESCO Regional Officefor Southern Africa8 Kenilworth Rd, NewlandsHarareZimbabweTel: ( 263) 242 776 focal point: Dr. Koen

Climate Change Impact Assessment For Biosphere Reserves to become 'real-life observatories for climate change mitigation and adaptation', several steps are required. First, their vulnerability to climate change needs to be identified. The project will adopt several activities to derive the vulnerability of the BRs present in the region.

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