Climate risks have always been a part of life in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) particularly in the agricultural sector. Increasingly though, climate change is posing significant new challenges to the continent wherein food and water security, livelihoods, shelter, and health are all at risk. In the meantime, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the pace and extent of the change and its impacts on different sub-regions, nations, communities, and sectors.
Among other things, there is urgent need to improve the knowledge base which policy responses to climate change are built upon, as evidence of climate change implications is increasing and a growing number of SSA countries are developing their own policy frameworks for responding to climate change. It is also crucial that an appropriate linkage and dialogue is enhanced between researchers and policy makers for the effective use of research results.
In this regard, AfricaInteract, a project funded by IDRC has established regional platforms in SSA to promote effective dialogue that will support evidence based decision-making towards helping vulnerable populations in Africa adapt to the impacts of climate change as well reduce climate-induced risks. The three themes of urban areas, agriculture and health covered by this project are of major importance to economies and livelihoods across the regions in SSA.
To promote effective dialogue and decision-making to help vulnerable populations in Africa adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The objectives ofAfricaInteract:
1.Promote and support effective documentation and sharing of information to improve climate change adaptation policy in Africa.
2.Identify policy gaps, support related action research, and promote the integration of climate change into development policies, strategies, programs, and projects at continental and sub-regional levels.
The expected Outputs are the following:
1.Climate change information and knowledge system improved and promoted.
2.Gaps in current knowledge on climate change policy research addressed.
3.Framework for discussions and development of climate change policy options established.
4.Capacity of sub-regional and continental decision-makers to articulate policy options for climate change adaptation strengthened.
Key activities and achievements:
In the form of multi-stakeholder platforms, AfricaInteract has made considerable progress in establishing a framework for networking within and across regions in SSA. At least one workshop has brought together a cross section of key stakeholders in each region to sensitize them on the objectives of the project as well as foster networking. A review of research and policy related to climate change adaptation in agriculture, health and urban areas has been undertaken in each of the four regions. Water and gender are considered as cross cutting issues. The report is targeted primarily at the regional and national level policy- and decision-makers, but is expected to be of interest to an audience well beyond these groups. Since the inception of the project in March 2011 the following key achievements are recorded:
- More than 300 key stakeholders including policymakers, scientists, civil society, development workers, farmers, pastoralists, and fisherfolks have been linked within and across sub regions of SSA for effective collaboration in adaptation to climate change.
- At least 50 high level decision makers/decision influencing personalities including permanent secretaries, parliamentarians and heads of key regional organizations have increased appreciation of the need for informed policy formulation through platform interactions.
- More than 80 senior scientists in sub Saharan Africa have increased awareness and appreciation of the need for effective linkage with policy makers.
- The regional reviews have significantly contributed towards the knowledge base in climate change adaptation by identifying key gaps in both research and policy that need to be addressed as well as opportunities for supporting evidence-based policy formulation towards climate change adaptation across SSA.