A Tailored Approach to Address Climate Change Impacts in Ethiopia and South Africa


Photo Credit: Agroforestry World


Global climate change impacts food and water security in significant ways, and developing countries will most likely bear the brunt of the adverse consequences. The lack of adaptive capacity and already high levels of poverty make these countries’ rural population and agriculture sector vulnerable. With support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), IFPRI and partner institutions examined the impacts of global climate change on agriculture and natural resources, and recommended policy options that will allow policy makers and stakeholders to adapt.


The study was the first scientific, in-depth analysis of climate change impacts and adaptation options at the local and national levels in Ethiopia. Findings in Ethiopia showed that integrated rural development strategies that alleviate poverty could improve farmers’ resilience. A second study in South Africa showed that the complexity of addressing vulnerability requires actions in a number of areas such as access to rural services (for example, credit and extension), secure land rights, and communication. Given that the farmers’ vulnerability varies, policy makers should tailor strategies to local conditions.


  • Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, drew from the study’s findings to provide an assessment of the regional effects of climate change. The research results contributed evidence on the barriers to adaptation at the local levels in Africa.
  • In 2011, the United Kingdom’s secretary of state for energy and climate change used the project findings in a series of reports that compiled scientifically robust and impartial information on the physical impacts of climate change in more than 20 countries. The innovative research was instrumental in establishing the knowledge base on the effects of climate change at the national level in South Africa.

For more information on IFPRI's partnerships with Germany, please go to this brochure.