Libya

Research Terms of Reference: WFP Climate and Livelihoods Assessment LBY2103, Libya (April 2021, V1)

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2.1. Rationale

Climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates. According to the fifth assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change has altered precipitation patterns, led to rising sea levels, shifts in temperature, and melting sea caps, among others. Temperature increases are projected to be higher in Africa than the global average. Additionally, precipitation in North Africa is projected to decrease annually at a more rapid rate than in the rest of Africa. In Libya, these trends, as well as rise in sea levels and increased incidence of extreme weather events has sparked concerns of reduced agricultural productivity, depleting water resources, increased food insecurity, and the safety of coastal communities.

Though there have been studies in Libya focused on the impact of seawater intrusion on agriculture, desertification of agriculture land, sand dune risk assessment, the impact of the armed conflict on the agriculture sector and farmer communities‘ risk perceptions of climate change; there has been no effort to map the various livelihood zones and the resilience of the communities in these zones to current and future climate shocks across Libya.

Libya can be broadly classified in two major climate zones: 1) desert or arid areas which represent the largest area of the country (more than 95% of total surface area) but have very low population densities, and 2) Mediterranean areas that concentrate the vast majority of urban areas and crop land. The livelihoods in these main climate zones differ quite significantly. The desert and arid areas are exposed to warmer temperature and decrease in rainfall provoking longer and more severe droughts. While Mediterranean areas will be affected by floods, decrease in rainfall and dust/sand storms affecting urban areas and rural peripheries. Several flash flooding episodes have for instance been recorded in the last ten years, causing important damage to infrastructure and farmland vital for livelihoods, as well as the displacement of thousands of individuals.

Understanding these subnational dynamics, how these intersect with livelihoods and food security, and their perspectives in changing climate is the information gap that this project proposes to address. This assessment precisely seeks to investigate livelihood zones’ climate resilience across Libya, by addressing communities’ perception of climate change and its impact on their livelihoods which is a precondition for understanding their strategies to absorb, adapt and transform in the face of stresses and shocks. The aim is eventually to better understand how climate change and climate risks affect livelihoods and food security in each livelihood zone in order to inform strategic decision-making and programming. This will be done through reviewing historical meteorological data that has been collected by different organizations and units – including the Libyan National Meteorological Center which has been active since the 1950s – as well as analyzing model-based projections of future climate conditions.

IMPACT has conducted previous disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation related assessments in more than five countries, notably using secondary data and geospatial analysis methods. By combining profiles with a background in environmental science/GIS and computer science, IMPACT is well equipped to manipulate, analyze and visualize raw raster or tabular data. IMPACT has also solid experience with typical data formats used to distribute climate datasets like netCDF, HDF, GRIB, ASCII and others. Besides climate-specific data formats, the data unit is skilled in processing earth observation data, with projects on automated detection of urban growth, land cover and floods in its portfolio.