Southern African Sub Global Assessment (SAfMA)
The assessment is being approached as an experiment with studies to be conducted
at three spatial scales: the entire SADC region, two major river basins (the
Gariep and Zambezi), and local community assessments (Kafue basin in Zambia,
Gorongosa-Marromeu in Mozambique, Lesotho, Great Fish River basin, Richtersveld
and Gauteng in South Africa). The assessed area includes industrial production
systems, urban, agricultural, livestock and forestry production areas as well
as natural vegetation and conservation systems.
SAfMA is a formal assessment at the sub-global scale, with its own stakeholders
and authorizing environment. The SAfMA Technical Advisory Group is responsible
for the design and implementation of the assessment, while the regional
stakeholders are represented on the SAfMA Advisory Committee.
Dr Constancia Musvoto
Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 4 302603
Fax: +263 4 332853
SAfMA aims to assess the services provided by ecosystems in southern Africa and
their impacts on the lives of the region’s people. The assessment explores how
local, informal management systems and conventional, formal management systems
can be combined to manage ecosystems in ways that ensure the continued
provision of ecosystem services in the region. Ecosystem services are provided
by a variety of processes that occur across a range of spatial scales. A
priority for SAfMA is to develop and test methods to integrate across these
Ecosystem services being assessed
Freshwater, wood fuel energy, production of stable cereal crops, air and water
quality, fisheries, grazing, biodiversity, medicinal plants and wetlands.
Key features of assessment
SAfMA is being carried out at a number of spatial scales. This makes it possible
to investigate processes at the scales at which they take place, and to take
account of links between scales. A multi-scale assessment is able to meet the
needs of different users (e.g. local communities and SADC), ensuring that the
perspectives at any given scale are reflected in the conclusions at other
scales. SAfMA plays a leading role within the MA in developing ways to
integrate results from different scales.
A pilot integrative assessment was conducted to test different assessment
approaches, the integration of results from different scales, and the
usefulness of outputs to key users.
In some areas, the regional-scale ‘view’ was found to differ from basin- or
local-scale ‘views, mainly’ due to averaging over local differences. For
example, on average everyone in the region may have enough water, but people
within a specific area may have more than enough water, while others may
experience water shortages. In other cases, local communities have adapted in
ways that overcome the shortages predicted at larger scales. Shortages apparent
at the local scale but not predicted at the regional scale may be due to
localized high demand activities (such as irrigation systems in the lower
Gariep Basin) not included in the larger scale models.
The SAfMA pilot assessment explored the implications for regional ecosystem
services under a NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) scenario and
a scenario in which current regional trends persist (Patchwork Africa).
Responses under both scenarios highlighted the need for transparent and
responsive governance. Countries that show a marked difference in ecosystem
conditions under different scenarios suggest that appropriate policy
intervention could prevent the degradation or loss of ecosystem services. In
the Patchwork scenario, local or endogenous responses dominate while central
government actions dominate under the NEPAD scenario.
Compilation of final SAfMA report and summary for policy makers: March 2004.
Funding was obtained from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment as well as the
Norwegian government through UNEP. The current level of funding secured by
SAfMA is about $900,000.