Climate change adaptation readiness: lessons from the 2015/16 El Niño for climate readiness in Southern Africa

This paper presents an assessment of Southern Africa's response to drought. It provides insight into its capacity to respond to severe environmental stresses. Insights drawn from the assessment allow for a deeper understanding of climate adaptation readiness in the region. The report concludes that there is a need to expedite the development of regional and national response plans to severe environmental stresses, and in particular to strengthen capacity to effectively implement and coordinate appropriate actions. At the national level, response capacity in numerous Southern African States remains low. Even in South Africa, where government capacity is the highest in the region, implementation delays and coordination challenges have hampered effective responses to the drought. Yet despite these problems, there have also been successes in regional and national responses to droughts and longer-term climate challenges. Such programmes and innovative responses can be scaled to achieve more far-reaching impacts and thereby further develop the region’s climate adaptation readiness.