Abt's Alexis St. Juliana co-authored chapter six, which focused on developing an early warning system in The Gambia. As countries around the globe begin to feel the impacts of climate change, many communities know the time to adapt is now. But how are communities adapting and what are we learning from their actions? A new work, co-authored by Abt Associates, unwraps evidence and provides an important case study from The Gambia.
The book, “Time to Adapt: Insights from the Global Environment Facility’s Experience in Adaptation to Climate Change,” discusses climate change adaptation actions, challenges communities and other stakeholders face implementing these actions, and the lessons they are learning along the way. Abt Senior Analyst Alexis St. Juliana co-authored, “Strengthening The Gambia’s Climate Change Early Warning Systems,” the sixth case study in the book, while Principal Associate Joel Smith co-authored the Conclusions and Discussion section.
“Addressing the impacts of climate change requires us to integrate scientific understanding, locally implementable solutions, and effective communications approaches,” said Josh Lipton, Ph.D., Division Vice President for Environment and Natural Resources. “Abt worked to understand processes and outcomes involved in the Gambia’s efforts to design an early warning system that builds capacity in local hydrometeorology and shares that knowledge with local media agencies, who can alert local farmers. Although climate change often is viewed as a problem for the future, implementing this integrated early warning system will enable us to improve people’s lives in the Gambia now.”
The Gambia is one of the smallest but most-densely populated countries in Africa. Climate change has the potential to threaten both food production and the livelihoods of local farmers. The most significant climate change risks include drought, wind, coastal erosion, and sea level rise. In absence of effective adaptation measures, these changes could reduce crops yields, threaten the integrity of freshwater resources, and increase damaging tidal flooding.
In case study six, St. Juliana and co-authors describe the design of this early warning system, from improving hydrological monitoring, to working with stakeholders across sectors and ensuring local farmers had access to the information. Local, national and international partners collaborated to improve hydrometeorological data collection, and to train local technicians to quickly and accurately process that data.
The project conducted extensive outreach to educate local media entities and farmers on how to interpret, use, and share the new information. Working with radio stations, messages could be tailored and transmitted to local listening groups that would share timely information with their communities. The authors also illuminate some of the challenges involved, such as needing to translate weather information into four local languages.