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#2 - April 2010

Dear Reader

Welcome to the April 2010 issue of START’s Quarterly E-Newsletter.

Contents of this issue include:

Upcoming Events

We appreciate your continued support!


Science-Policy Dialogues on Climate Change

Although adaptation to climate change is an urgent issue for many developing countries, factors such as lack of awareness and scientific information and scarcity of sector- and location-specific knowledge commonly inhibit much needed policy action. In an effort to address these obstacles, START and its partners are engaging scientists and policy-makers in 9 countries spanning West Africa, East Africa and South Asia in an EC-funded project that aims at enabling decision-makers to better integrate climate change issues in development planning and poverty reduction measures. Science-policy dialogues are an important project activity, and have taken place in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Bangladesh, and Senegal, with dialogues in Nepal, Bhutan, Rwanda and Burundi to follow over the next few months.

During the national science-policy dialogue in Senegal, in April, Dr. Isabelle Niang presented on the risks posed by climate change to coastal areas; More...

Project partners: WMO, UNEP, IPCC, University of Ghana, University of Dar es Salaam, and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies

Final Reports are Available for the following Science-Policy Dialogues


19-21 October 2009 in Legon
Download Ghana Final Report


20-22 January in Dar es Salaam
Download Tanzania Final Report


23-25 February in Ibadan
Download Nigeria Final Report


First Announcement: Forum on Education, Capacity Building, and Climate Change: A Strategy for Collective Action in Africa

The International START Secretariat, with the support of the Open Society Institute (OSI), is planning a forum on Education, Capacity Building, and Climate Change: A Strategy for Collective Action in Africa, to take place at the White Sands Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 27 June - 1 July 2010. The purpose of the forum is to explore the role of African universities in promoting education on climate change adaptation in the areas of research, curriculum development and teacher training, as well as to examine issues of how to more fully engage civil society on adaptation through education aimed outside the university. The forum is designed to solicit input from a diverse range of experts within Africa, with the intention of informing OSI's recent initiative on education and adaptation. The Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA), located at the University of Dar es Salaam, is the local host for the forum.
Download First Announcement PDF...


START Grants for Global Environmental Change Research in Africa Announce 2010 Awardees

START is pleased to announce the following collaborative research projects in Africa that have been awarded START Grants:

Project Title: Assessing Soil-based Ecological Services and Opportunities to Sequester Soil Organic Carbon in Selected Watersheds of Ethiopia
Principal Investigator: Mr. Abebe Shiferaw, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), ETHIOPIA
Co-Investigators: Dr. Gete Zeleke, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), ETHIOPIA; Mr. Berhanu Debele, National Center of Competence in Research, ETHIOPIA; Prof. Hans Hurni, University of Bern, SWITZERLAND
Project In Brief: Study sites for the Soil Conservation Research Program were established in three watersheds in Ethiopia during the 1980’s. Soil and water conservation measures were implemented and have been continuously maintained since then. In this project, the long-term impact of those practices will be monitored, with special emphasis on conservation practices that reduce soil organic carbon (SOC) emissions. In addition, there will be an investigation of practices that can enhance carbon sequestration on sustainably managed lands. The findings of the research will be communicated among key stakeholders through training sessions and workshops in an effort to increase implementation of appropriate land management practices in Ethiopian communities. This project contributes to the Global Carbon Project of the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP).

For more information about this project, please contact Mr. Abebe Shiferaw, a.shiferaw@cgiar.org

Project Title: Vulnerability assessment and risk level of ecosystem services for climate change impacts and adaptation in Moroccan oases
Principal Investigator: Prof. Mohammed Messouli, University Cadi Ayyad, MOROCCO
Co-Investigators: Dr. Lahouari Bounoua, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Biospheric Sciences, USA; Dr. Abdelaziz Babqiqi, University Cadi Ayyad; MOROCCO
Project In Brief: Climate variability and climate change in the fragile landscapes of Southern Morocco impact the vulnerability of water resources. The goal of this research project is to assess risk levels of potential vulnerabilities that result from climate change at study sites in the Biosphere Reserve of Southeastern Moroccan Oases. This study will provide a quantitative assessment of the fresh water supply and its impact on agricultural production and the food security of the region. Climate change data will be monitored using climate models and satellite data including NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). A web-based data archive will be developed, and a national stakeholder workshop will be held as part of the National Communication on Climate Change managed by the Department of the Environment of Morocco. This project contributes to the Global Water System Project of the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP).

For more information about this project, please contact Prof. Mohammed Messouli, messouli@gmail.com

Project Title: The impact of environmental change on ecosystem services supporting human livelihoods: the case of Okavango River channel flows and Boteti River, Botswana   
Principal Investigator: Dr. Gagoitseope Mmopelwa, Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre (HOORC), BOTSWANA
Co-Investigators: Prof. Cornelius Vanderpost, Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre (HOORC), BOTSWANA; Prof. D.L. Kgathi, Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre (HOORC), BOTSWANA
Project In Brief: Botswana’s Okavango Delta provides crucial ecosystem services that support various livelihood activities. However, within the Okavango wetland, some river channels have dried up, resulting in adverse impacts on water-dependent livelihoods. This study is designed to map the extent of current and previous channel desiccation, as well as the likelihood of future channel desiccation, and to learn how affected communities adapt to channel desiccation. This project contributes to the Global Water System Project of the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP).

For more information about this project, please contact Dr. Gagoitseope Mmopelwa, gmmopelwa@orc.ub.bw

Project Title: Strengthening the capability of communities and local institutions in Southern Africa to respond to climate change through land use changes 
Principal Investigator: Prof. Henry Raphael Mloza-Banda, University of Malawi, MALAWI
Co-Investigators: Dr. Caxton Matarira, University of Lesotho, LESOTHO; Dr. Musa Dube, University of Swaziland, SWAZILAND
Project In Brief: This project will combine the resources of scientists from three countries, each of which has distinctive farming traditions, water resources, topography, and environmental challenges. Project is designed to:

  • enhance the management of landscapes by using sustainable techniques of conservation agriculture and soil and water conservation methods,
  • support target stakeholders by giving them knowledge and skills to take direct action to limit the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture, and
  • create networks to promote farmer awareness of methods for climate risk management at the farm and landscape levels to enhance capacity to adapt to climate change.

This project contributes to the Global Environmental Change and Food Systems Project of the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP).

For more information about this project, please contact Dr. Gagoitseope Mmopelwa, gmmopelwa@orc.ub.bw

Global Observation of Forest Cover and Land Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD)

START is currently organizing the second round of training under the GOFC-GOLD Data Initiative. This Initiative, implemented in partnership with the USGS/EROS Data Center, capitalizes on the opening of the Landsat archive to free, web-based access, and is intended to: disseminate US earth observation data in regions where available distribution methods are not effective, compile regional and in-country datasets relevant to land cover and fire observations and make them freely available, and engage regional expertise in global data set development, evaluation, and validation.

During two weeks at EROS, the participants will have the opportunity to access the data archives to compile datasets relevant to their regions and interests, as well as learning about data characteristics, management, and applications.

Following the initial pilot round that focused on Africa, six participants from Asia will receive the training during this session:

  • Dr. Tsolmon Renchin, National University of Mongolia Ulaanbaatar-38 Mongolia
  • Dr. Alexey Terekhov, Institute of Space Research National Center of Space Research and Technology, Kazakhstan
  • Dr. Atamyrat Veyisov, National Institute of Deserts, Flora and Fauna Turkmenistan
  • Dr. Ruandha Agung Sugardiman, Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia
  • Dr. Xuan Lan, Vietnam, Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam
  • Dr. Mastura Mahmud, Earth Observation Center, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia

Upcoming Events

5-7 May 2010

CCAFS Launch Planning Workshop - Nairobi, Kenya

27 June -
1 July 2010

Forum on Education, Capacity Building, & Climate Change: A Strategy for Collective Action in Africa - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

23 August -
1 September 2010

Workshop on “Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Urban Development Planning for Asian Coastal Cities” - Bangkok, Thailand

2000 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
© 2010 START

For questions or comments about the START E-Newsletter, please contact Lauren Gibbons at lgibbons@start.org