Abdulai Jalloh, Mbène Dièye Faye, Lars Otto Naess, Aboubakar Njoya, Harold Roy-Macauley, Hezron Mogaka, Aliou Diouf, Michel Ndjatsana, Sepo Hachigonta and Talentus Mthunzi.
Climate change poses challenges to natural and human systems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It may create new hazards or exacerbate existing ones, and it may put considerable strains on societies and ecosystems that are themselves undergoing change. Fundamentally, however, it is the underlying development pathways, and the choices these are based upon, that most determine the ability of a country to tackle the challenges of climate change. This review – and the reports it is based on – are a response to the urgent need to improve the knowledge base for policy responses, as evidence of climate change implications is increasing and a growing number of SSA countries are developing their own national policy frameworks for responding to climate change. The reviews were carried out as part of the AfricaInteract project, aimed at helping to enhance the knowledge base and support research-based policy formulation for climate change adaptation throughout SSA. Three separate themes – urban areas, agriculture and health – are covered in the four regions of West, Central, Southern and East Africa. The findings of the reviews demonstrate a growing knowledge base on how people and societies across SSA are responding to changes in climate-related shocks and stressors, and there are signs of emerging best practices and lessons that could be used to support adaptation in policy and practice. Importantly, the regional reviews also show a strengthening of the research capacity on adaptation and urban areas, agriculture and health across the four SSA sub-regions. The following four key recommendations emerge: First, the need to better understand adaptation actions and their outcomes; Second, the need to address gaps in policies and increase policy coherence; Third, the need to ensure improved uptake of research evidence; and Fourth, the need to address gender concerns.