Climatic and other environmental changes are set to impact many sectors of South African society. Decision-makers in these sectors need information on the impact and risk of climate change.
The South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas (SARVA), a new atlas of local risk and vulnerability in global change context, will be further rolled out in 2011. The Atlas is aimed at equipping decision-makers with information on the impact and risk associated with global change in the region.
The Atlas provides easily understood global change sensitivity and vulnerability information at regional, national, provincial and municipal levels. It also supports national initiatives such as the National Disaster Management Framework.
The Atlas provides an electronic geographical information system and involves SA researchers from various disciplines to continuously update the content with new research. It captures data related to aspects such as groundwater, surface water, forests, biodiversity, human health, crops, demographics, economics and social dimensions.
Policy-makers and decision-makers at all levels of government, consultants, researchers, students, and everyone else who would like to know more about global change and its impacts on South Africa.
The SARVA project is sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and is project managed by the CSIR, with key inputs from South African institutions and research groups.
In 2008, the DST adopted a Ten-Year Innovation Plan aimed at propelling the country towards a knowledge economy. The Ten-Year Plan is underpinned by five grand challenges, one of which is Science and Technology for Global Change with an emphasis on climate change. The South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas (SARVA) has its origin in this Global Change grand challenge.
The DST is currently establishing a Bureau on Global Change Science that will include the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), Africa Centre for Climate and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS), Africa Earth Observatory Network (AEON), the South African National Space Agency as well the Atlas.
The Bureau will act as a high-level knowledge broker between researchers and policy-makers in parliament.