Monday, March 28, 2016

Sharing knowledge on climate forecasts through Participatory Scenario Planning

Bob Aston
Sharing knowledge on climate forecasts through Participatory Scenario Planning assists communities to agree on options, make decisions, develop, and plan for climate-resilient livelihoods and disaster management. These came out during a two-day Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) Workshop at Agricultural Machinery Services (AMS) Hall in Nyahururu on March 23-24, 2016.
The Kenya Meteorological Department in collaboration with the Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) organized the workshop to enable agriculture actors to come up with flexible innovative solutions that embed risk management in the Dairy, maize, sheep and goat value chains by effectively planning forward to enhance resilience during the March-May 2016 “Long-Rains” Season.
Land degradation caused by soil erosion.PHOTO/Bonface Njenga
Speaking during the workshop, Mr. John Nyapola, ASDSP-Laikipia Environmental Resilience, and Social Inclusion officer noted that Participatory Scenario Planning is a mechanism for collective sharing and interpretation of climate forecasts conducted as soon as a seasonal climate forecast is available from meteorological Services.
It brings together meteorologists, community members, County government departments, and local Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to share their knowledge on climate forecasts.
 “Participatory Scenario Planning involves assessing likely hazards, risks, opportunities and impacts, and developing scenarios based on the assessment. It forms part of the adaptation panning process,” said Mr. Nyapola.
Participatory Scenario Planning creates space for sharing climate information from local and scientific knowledge and finding ways to interpret the information into a form that is locally relevant and useful.
Other importance of Participatory Scenario Planning include to create a common platform for climate communication which respects, reviews and combines knowledge from communities and different groups within them, meteorological services and service providers; to link government and community actors to enable response and support to community action; and to plan and empower communities through improved contacts and relations.
“ It is important to conduct seasonal Participatory Scenario Planning before the onset of the rain season as it would assist farmers to plan for crops to plant and have contingency plans in place to mitigate against any eventuality,” said Mr. Nyapola.
The Participatory Scenario Planning Process starts by identifying the meteorological services and forecasts available in a given location. Various actors then interpret the seasonal forecasts into three probabilistic hazard scenarios. This includes accessing risks posed by the hazards, developing impact scenarios, and identifying opportunities for each scenario.
Actors then discuss the local implications of the impact scenarios considering the status of food security, natural resources, livelihood, and sectors. The actors then develop action plans for the dissemination of the long or short rain season forecast to other stakeholders within the 15 wards of Laikipia County.
The action plans address issues like what local communities, County government and local NGO’s will do. In addition, the action plans looks at how the scenarios would be mutually supportive and respond to both the current situation and the expected forecast in relation to livelihood and sector priorities.
Participatory Scenario Planning empowers communities to take advantage of opportunities that climate presents, which is a key part of adapting to climate change. In addition, it enables local stakeholders to have better access to seasonal climate forecasts from the Kenya Meteorological department and local forecasting experts.
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