The global focus on the threats posed by climate change has drawn attention to the fact that water will be the medium through which many of its impacts will be felt. In addition to the direct impacts of damaging floods and interruptions to water supply due to drought, a particular concern in many regions is the threat to food security, driven by changing rainfall patterns and increased aridity.
While climate change is a long term threat, many African countries already confront immediate challenges in managing present climate variability and the droughts and floods that regularly cause social distress and undermine economic performance. This highlights the need to develop strategies that will address immediate challenges while building resilience to adapt to long term trends.
Although many local and national responses have been identified, there is also a potential in the inter-connected regions of southern and eastern Africa to develop regional approaches. This was the focus of a workshop held in May 2011, hosted in Midrand, South Africa, by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in partnership with the Global Water Partnership (GWP), International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and South Africa’s National Planning Commission (NPC) with the support of SADC, the EAC (East African Community) and the African Development Bank.