Climate has never been a negligible force in Africa’s history; but with global warming, its impact is increasing even more, making Africa the most exposed and vulnerable region in the world to the impacts of climate change (World Bank, 2009). Food and water security, livelihoods, shelter, and health are all at risk in rural and urban areas alike. Compounding those challenges are widespread poverty, fragile ecosystems, weak institutions, and other issues. Climate change is thus a key development issue for Africa. While there is unequivocal evidence that the climate is changing, a lot of uncertainty exists regarding the pace and extent of the change and its impacts on different sub-regions, sectors, nations, and communities. This uncertainty makes policy decision-making more complex and magnifies the need for Africa to build its knowledge and analytical base and strengthen the capacity of its country and regional institutions to address climate change-related issues.
Several Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have indicated that to render climate change adaptation efforts more efficient, activities must not only rely on scientific knowledge but must also be carried out within a policy and strategic development context that promotes regular consultation among stakeholders. Consideration should thus be given to the establishment of initiatives that capitalize on on-going and emerging actions, that create synergies, and that, in a consultative and concerted manner, identify frameworks and contexts for meaningful interventions that will impact positively on the abilities of communities, countries, and the entire continent of Africa to adequately meet the challenges of climate change. In that view, CORAF/WECARD is spearheading the project “Platform for exchange between African Research Scientists and Policy-makers on climate change Adaptation,” which, funded by IDRC, aims at linking researchers and policy-makers to effectively contribute toward enhancing the resilience of vulnerable populations to adapt to climate change in the continent.