NVAS Afrikadag 2018 ‘Responding to climate change in Africa’
in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund
Climate change is a theme that needs to be addressed urgently. Although its effects are felt worldwide, the African continent appears to carry the heaviest burden when it comes to adapting to climate change. To explore how climate change could be addressed in Africa, the Netherlands Association for African Studies (NVAS) organizes the NVAS Africa day 2018 entitled ‘Responding to climate change in Africa’ in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund. The NVAS Afrikadag 2018 takes place on 20 October 2018 in the WWF Netherlands head office in Zeist.
Indeed, ‘no continent will be struck as severely by the impacts of climate change as Africa’, states the United Nations Environment Program. Africa is often characterized as a generally poor continent with many disaster prone areas due to its geographical location. The increasing frequency of (natural) disasters has been taken by some as evidence of the assumed limited adaptive capacity when it comes to mediating the impacts of climate change. The fact that many Africans depend on (rain-fed) subsistence agriculture to survive, further exacerbates this image of a passive, disaster struck continent, that is unable to respond to climate change. Yet, frugal (technological) innovations, such as weather stations, are mushrooming and most of the energy produced on the continent comes from renewable sources (Panel 1: Climate change and technology). Also, conservationists increasingly design and apply climate-adaptation in conservation planning (Panel 4: Nature conservation). In addition, migration, urbanization and the growing urban youth bulge hold many promises for future responses to the effects of climate change (Panel 3: Urban sustainability and migration), while rural livelihood strategies have always already been adapted to climate variability (Panel 2: Rural communities and livelihoods).
By organizing the NVAS Afrikadag 2018 the Netherlands Association for African Studies aims to facilitate interdisciplinary discussions and dialogues on the above mentioned challenges and opportunities for Africa in relation to climate change. We invite speakers to contribute based on their own research and/or involvement in Africa. Please submit an abstract of max. 300 words that relates to one of the four panel themes below (the abstract and presentation must be in English) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each presentations can last max. 10 minutes, panels host approximately 4 presentations.
This call closes on 1 September 2018, speakers of accepted abstracts will be notified on 17 September 2018. The NVAS will not be able to cover costs for international travel or hotels, but speakers of accepted abstracts can participate in the NVAS Africaday programme at a reduced (student) rate. Do not hesitate to contact the organizers in case you have any questions.
Panel 1: Climate change and technology (Dr. Niels Raes – Naturalis Biodiversity Centre)
Africa is the continent with the highest human population growth rate while at the same time it faces severe impacts of climate change which pose major economic and agricultural challenges for Africa’s future. This panel accepts contributions that address (low cost) technological solutions that allow African countries to make the transition to sustainable and climate smart economies and agricultural systems.
Panel 2: Rural communities and livelihoods (Professor Marja Spierenburg – Radboud University)
This panel accepts contributions that focus on climate change and adaptations of livelihood strategies, and how these impact on natural resource use and human-wellbeing. Livelihood strategies can include both farm and off-farm strategies, and can be multi-sited.
Panel 3: Urban sustainability and migration (Professor Ton Dietz – Leiden University)
This panel accepts contributions that deal with the relationship between climate change and (calamity) migration, and with the relationship between urban vulnerability for climate-related disasters and how this affects rural-urban migrants who often settle in the most vulnerable places in (mega-)cities, particularly near the oceans.
Panel 4: Nature conservation (Dr. Nikhil Advani – WWF-US)
This panel accepts contributions that focus on how climate change is impacting biodiversity in Africa, from genes to species to ecosystems. Contributions should include adaptation solutions where possible.
NVAS Afrikadag 2018 organising team
 Cf. Groves, C. R et al. (2012). Incorporating climate change into systematic conservation planning. Biodiversity and Conservation, 21(7), 1651-1671. Vos, C. et al. (2008). Adapting landscapes to climate change: examples of climate‐proof ecosystem networks and priority adaptation zones. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45(6), 1722-1731.
 Dietz, A. J., Ruben, R., & Verhagen, A. (Eds.). (2006). The impact of climate change on drylands: With a focus on West Africa (Vol. 39). Springer Science & Business Media.