Africa is widely held to be highly vulnerable to future climate change, and Ethiopia is often cited as one of the most extreme examples. With this in mind, the authors seek to identify entry points to integrate short- to medium-term climate risk reduction within development activities in Africa, drawing from experiences in Ethiopia.

They examine the changing nature of climate risks, assess the effects of climate variability on agricultural production and national GDP, and identify entry points and knowledge gaps in relation to mainstreaming climate risks in Ethiopia are identified using the government plan for poverty reduction. They end with a case study incorporating climate risks through drought insurance within the current social protection programme in Ethiopia, which provides support to 8.3 million people.

 The analysis also highlights important challenges and opportunities for addressing climate risks. Challenges primarily relate to the large uncertainties in climate projections for parts of Africa, a weak evidence base of complex, often non-deterministic, climate-society interactions and institutional issues. Opportunities relate to the potential for low-regrets measures to reduce vulnerability to current climate variability which can be integrated with relatively modest effort within a shift in Africa from a disaster-focused view of climate to a long-term perspective that emphasises livelihood security and vulnerability reduction.

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