Scope of the RAVAC Project

The GCRP priorities addressing local needs and working in areas of global comparative advantage.  Hence, the RAVAC aims for realizing innovation toward socio-economic sustainable livelihoods of the vulnerable communities in the Eastern Cape Province. The Eastern Cape Province is considered to be the country’s poorest province, with a population of approximately 6.52 million in mid-2007, representing 14.4% of the total South African population (Davies, 2009).  Roughly 60% live below the poverty line (Schwabe, 2004). This extremely high incidence of poverty and joblessness renders the majority of these people highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as they are heavily dependent upon natural resources for food and income (Shackleton, 2010). Case studies in different areas of the Eastern Cape have exposed shortages of clean drinking water, food insecurity and loss of biodiversity and Climate change will exacerbate the problems. Up to this point the government has not directly addressed how climate change could alter disturbances patterns of risks and vulnerabilities at household level. Thus this project (RAVAC) is poised to make a substantial contribution to the government on climate change impacts and its effects on food and water security.Against this background the RAVAC at the University of Fort Hare serves as a coordinating point for all risks and vulnerability studies in the rural & peri-urban communities of the Eastern Cape.  Thus through research the RAVAC aims to provide up-to date data base on climate change impacts and its effects on food and water security, though other research theme indicated in Figure 1 can be explored.  The data will contribute towards the development of the South African Risk & Vulnerability Atlas with the intent to develop models, strategies for capacity building among stakeholders and rural communities, creating and disseminating climate risks and vulnerabilities, facilitating implementation and to inform policies in ways that integrate messages between science, government and local stakeholder.   In fact the RAVAC is an arm of the atlas to be used for outreach.  Overall, the information is for key sectors to support strategy development and decision-making in areas of risks and vulnerability thereby supporting South Africa’s transition to a resilience future and provide risk and vulnerability assessment services to local communities and other users. The information gathered will be made for free to communities, municipalities, local and national and other research entities. This knowledge economy will comprise three components:

  • Electronic spatial database system ( risks & vulnerability mapping)
  • Repository of global change and vulnerability studies (case studies)
  •  Hard copy synthesis of data and studies.