Adaptation to climate change in Southern Africa: New boundaries for sustainable development?
Authors: Bauer, Steffen; Scholz, Imme
Source: Climate and Development, 1 April 2010, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 83-93(11)
Abstract:The evident correlation of climate impacts and poverty poses a particular challenge for the Southern African region: climatically, the region is warming up faster than the rest of the world, and socio-economically it is one of the world's poorest and most vulnerable regions. With its land and water resources already under stress, the double bind of climatic change and structural poverty will create impenetrable boundaries for sustainable human development unless unprecedented adaptive capacities are developed. This introduction provides a conceptual and environmental background for empirically informed discussions of adaptation to climate change in Southern Africa. It first considers the notion of boundaries for human development and relates them to established concepts of vulnerability and adaptation. It then reviews expected climate impacts in the context of regional development and provides an outlook on the research presented in this special issue. It thus sets the stage for exploring the potential of Southern Africa to follow a sustainable human development path while responding to the impacts of climate change. In conclusion we argue that, uncertainty in regional climate scenarios notwithstanding, the reduction of people's vulnerability is imperative for development policies across the Southern African region.
Document Type: Research Article