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Climate change adaptation in Africa


April 2007

SARPN acknowledges the Research4Development website as the souce of this report.
A French version of this report can be accessed at:
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Executive summary

The Climate Change Adaptation in Africa Program (CCAA) of the International Development Research Centre and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) organized a five-day workshop held in Addis Ababa 16th -20th April, aimed at supporting regional initiatives with regard to adaptation to climate change and developing the foundations of a community of practice involving key stakeholders and current CCAA project proponents.

The workshop was divided into two parts. The first part of the workshop comprising the first three days brought together policymakers and researchers to discuss the regional aspects of climate change adaptation. It included sessions on linking climate change, poverty and sustainable development, presentations of CCAA projects on water and food security and well being, improving regional cooperation and knowledge sharing to address shared challenges, and presentations of the Climate Information for Development Needs in Africa (ClimDev) Initiative, the UNDP-GEF adaptation strategy and the CCAA Program Framework. The second part, comprising the last two days focused on knowledge exchange between CCAA project partners, and briefings on key concepts relevant to CCAA.

Discussions during the first three days highlighted the challenges of knowledge sharing between stakeholders, and of bridging gaps between researchers and policy-makers. The lack of conviction amongst African policymakers as to the potential seriousness of climate change impacts was also recognized as a serious challenge. Breakout groups on regional cooperation stressed that the greatest difficulties in developing regional cooperation on adaptation lie in those areas where it is most needed, in managing transboundary issues, and especially river basins. Sharing of knowledge and information, particularly between policymakers, is a key first step in promoting such cooperation, and even this can pose a significant challenge.

The second part of the workshop introduced the CCAA framework for knowledge sharing, how to build knowledge sharing into participatory action research projects, and how to improve communication between projects and strengthen knowledge exchange networks. Short presentations were also given on participatory action research, gender analysis, and Outcome Mapping.

Key workshop recommendations included:
  • the need to make research more demand-responsive,
  • to support the formation and engagement of African capacity and reduce reliance on external experts,
  • to develop regional climate models for Africa, to integrate adaptation into policy frameworks and conventions in other sectors,
  • to support interaction between scientists and policymakers at a regional level,
  • to identify potential regional level interventions that do not exclude participation by local communities,
  • to make databases of adaptation success stories available to regional and national institutions, to support NAPA processes, and
  • to address the issue of cost recovery for climate information.

In terms of current CCAA projects, recommendations included:
  • the need to improve capacities for communicating climate change issues,
  • to strengthen linkages with UNFCCC national focal points,
  • to develop knowledge sharing platforms amongst CCAA project partners, and
  • to strengthen capacities for mainstreaming gender through training, the formation of a gender working group, and the development of a resource guide on gender issues.

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