Water and Disasters (Sunday, 8 June 2014, 13:30 – 15:15)

Managing Watershed as a Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Semi-Arid Zones of Senegal
Mateugue DIACK (Senegal)

Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Water Related Events: a Case Study of Ta Chin River Basin, Thailand
Sathaporn MONPRAPUSSORN (Thailand)

Why Disaster Risk Reduction in the Horn of Africa Remain Elusive: the Case of IGAD
Wondwosen SEIDE (Republic of Djibouti)


Managing Watershed as a Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Semi-Arid Zones of Senegal

Mateugue DIACK1, Macoumba LOUM1, Fary DIOM2 and Khady SOW3

  1. UFR de Sciences Agronomiques, d’Aquaculture et de Technologies Alimentaires, Université Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis, Sénégal
  2. Institut des Sciences de la Terre, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Sénégal
  3. Agence Nationale du Conseil Agricole et Rural, BP 494, Kaolack, Sénégal

In the fight against land degradation and pressure on land and cultivation on marginal lands to maintain food production at minimum level, there is a need to better understand the role of watersheds as a provider of nutrients for soil quality improvement and, hence, food security. The watershed is widely recognised as an ideal planning unit for environmental conservation and development. The watershed is not only a physical contiguous unit with complex biophysical dynamics, but there are also strong economic and social linkages between the uplands, colluviums, terraces and lowlands that are the geomorphological components of the toposequence within a watershed. This study relates the variability of soil fertility indicators throughout the different geomorphological units within the watershed to the level of building capacity for resilience in response to low soil productivity. For the purpose of this study, factors influencing soil fertility throughout the toposequence and the level of resilience were examined using quantitative and qualitative research methods. Findings of the study show that there are strong relationships between the toposequece and soil fertility indicators. Therefore, a decision-making system, centred on the needs of using better soils for optimising crop production, may be applicable if all other challenges are overcome. The results underline a need for greater understanding of the level of resilience farmers should have, and the possibility to move from one place to another for better cropping.

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Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Water Related Events: a Case Study of Ta Chin River Basin, Thailand

Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok, Thailand

Climate change is a global concern and also poses great challenges to society because its effect will impede the ability of people, especially in developing countries, to reach sustainability objectives. There has been growing evidence that climate change can potentially impact on water resources by changing climate patterns and leading to extreme events like sea level rise, floods, storm surges and drought. Ta Chin river basin, located in the middle of Thailand, plays a critical role in supporting the Thai economy as most areas are dedicated to rice farmlands. Past statistical data reveal a change in extreme events associated with a number of floods and drought in the basin. Regarding the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report: Climate Change 2001 (TAR), Southeast Asia will likely be affected by changes in precipitation and monsoons, leading to water-related extreme events like floods and drought. However, predicting the impacts of climate change from Global Climate Models (GCMs) is questionable by many researches when applied to small scale studies like river basins.

This paper aims to analyse the impact of climate change on extreme water-related events and develop mitigation strategies to protect agricultural loss and social impact from future climate change. Thailand’s climate change policy under the Thailand strategic plan for future climate change (2013-2017) has also been analysed. Preliminary results found that there is a lack in institutional framework for cross sector coordination, despite an increased number of climate change actors and activities. The development of national strategic and/or action plans related to water stress such as flood and drought, and its impact on rice farmland, must be revised to cope with integrated water resource management strategy and uncertainty of water stress estimated by future climate projections. As a consequence, there is plenty of room for water-related disaster reduction policies in order to reduce water stress vulnerability of rice farmlands, and achieve sustainable water resources management in the future.

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Why Disaster Risk Reduction in the Horn of Africa Remain Elusive: the Case of IGAD

Wondwosen SEIDE
Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

Horn of Africa (HoA), stuck in the quagmire of disaster. Natural hazards and its consequent disasters have been affecting the HoA for many years. In the irony of nature, contrasting natural hazards like drought and floods have been chronically affecting the region. The only place where drought always automatically leads to famine is the HoA. These disasters made the people to live under the pincer grip of food insecurity, famine and poverty. The region is home to the world’s poorest countries. In 1986, the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Desertification (IGADD) was formed, as its name explains, as a disaster risk reduction mechanism. In 1996, it was renamed as IGAD, comprising Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. In spite of this attempt, drought has remained a household term in the region costing millions of lives every year. With the looming of climate change, the occurrence and intensity of drought and flood punctuated the day to day life of more than 300 million people in the Horn. IGAD’s strategy has not been informed by research and science. As a result the strategies are more of disaster crisis management, reactive, ad hoc, peace meal, relief-oriented and trendy in nature. Besides, the strategies mainly remain rosy picture on paper, but difficult to make impact on the ground. The 2010/11 drought in the HoA affected more than 13.5 million people. This has triggered all the major stakeholders to come together and vowed to ‘End Drought Emergencies’ in the Horn. Later, this resulted in the formation of the IGAD Drought Disaster Reduction and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI), which, in 15 years, plans to end drought emergencies and related shocks. It has the undivided attention of the donors and enjoys hundreds of millions of dollars. The impact of this initiative is going to be seen in the year ahead. Against this backdrop, this writer would like to assess the past performance of IGAD and critically investigate IDDRSI’s lofty objectives. This paper, therefore, probes into the process of IDDRSI formulation and formation by throwing relevant questions:

  • Is the disaster risk reduction strategy in the HoA research/science-based or simply committee-based or donor-driven?
  • Why has drought prevention remained elusive?

The combined critical document investigation approach will be employed and support.

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