Translation of climate information into multilevel decision support for social adaptation, policy development, and resilience to water scarcity in the Horn of Africa Drylands

01 September 2020 → 28 February 2025
European funding: framework programme
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Environmental rehabilitation
water scarcity
Other information
Project description
Prolonged periods of extreme water scarcity induced by drought are detrimental to regional economies through crop and livestock loss, threatening food security in rural communities, and making politically unstable regions more vulnerable to conflict, terrorism, and mass migration. The rural communities of the Horn of Africa Drylands (HAD) are extremely vulnerable to food insecurity and associated economic losses during drought conditions due to low socio-economic levels and low adaptive capacity to climatic shocks, such that frequent and more severe droughts in HAD have dramatically reduced soil moisture and affecting drinking water reserves, leading to increased food insecurity, livestock loss, and major water shortages. DOWN2EARTH is composed of a multidisciplinary project team that will deliver state-of-the-art and community relevant climate services that focus on water scarcity and its consequences at or near the Earth’ surface (hence DOWN2EARTH) to increasingly vulnerable agro-pastoral populations in HAD. The project is designed to bolster existing climate services frameworks, improve decision support to governments and NGOs in the most vulnerable HAD countries (Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia), and to improve community-centric adaptation and resilience to climate change. The project will: assess the socio-economic dimensions and human dynamics of climate change including feedbacks between climatic shocks, human behavior, and policy implementation; characterize historical trends and future projections of water scarcity, food insecurity, population, and land use; develop and enhance multi-level decision-support tools that emphasize the translation of climate information into critical land and water information required for adaptation and resilience by end users and state/regional governments; and strengthen regional climate services through capacity building, citizen science, information dissemination, expansion of data networks, and policy implementation.

Role of Ghent University
Ghent University will be in charge of the study of land use and land cover change in the Horn of Africa over the past decades, and the investigation of how those changes affected rainfall patterns, and ultimately water availability.