Momentum gathers on ground-breaking African driven climate research priorities

Momentum gathers on ground-breaking African driven climate research priorities

Nairobi, 20 June 2021 – In a first of its kind end-of-research workshop, some 21 post-doctoral researchers drawn from 13 African countries namely Benin, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Uganda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzanian and Zimbabwe, will this coming week present their climate change and development findings.
The intensity and frequency of disruptions in natural and socioeconomic systems caused by climate change have placed a heavy toll on African nations forcing stakeholders to plan necessary interventions to forestall risks.  in this regard, the 21 researchers embarked on 18-month research in late 2019 to understand better these dynamics and try to find some answers. In their study they covered key areas of improving early warning systems, weather and public health, climate resilience for African islands, floods, drought mitigation and adaptation.

Thus, the researchers will be presenting their findings in a workshop jointly organized by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), ‎, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Africa Academy of Science (AAS), bringing together the wider scientific community to bolster the research under the Climate Research for Development (CR4D) initiative.

The unveiling of the research findings marks a major milestone for the CR4D programme whose history dates back to 2013. In 2013, the African Climate Conference (ACC-2013) brought together more than 300 African meteorologists’, related climate scientists, climate service providers, practitioners and policy makers in the northern Tanzanian resort city of Arusha.  According to James Murombedzi, the officer in charge of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), the meeting of climate stakeholders in Arusha discussed in great detail the state of African climate science and identified existing gaps that required coordinated response.  Climate mitigation, adaptation, resilience building, as well as capitalizing on emerging opportunities formed the basis of discussion with solutions being sought.

To redress this critical climate knowledge gaps scenario the Climate Research for Development (CR4D) initiative was born as one of the core resolutions of the watershed ACC-2013 summit. “The Climate Research for Development seeks to strengthen links between climate science research and climate information needs in support of development planning in Africa.” Murombedzi says.

In 2015 CR4D was officially inaugurated at the Third Session of the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), held in the Atlantic Ocean archipelago of Cape Verde. It is CR4D is an African-led endeavour forged by a partnership between the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), the WMO, and the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). The creation of the CR4D initiative as mandated by the African Climate Conference represents a definitive shift to address climate knowledge and information gaps and position related research right in the centre of development planning. The CR4D secretariat was established at the African Climate Policy Centre of UNECA in Addis Ababa.

“Climate research in Africa is fragmented and not demand-driven.” Murombedzi says. “As such, it is not responsive to the user requirements, and also needs to be firmly situated within the contexts of Agenda 2063, Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.”

Following the establishment of the CR4D governing bodies, namely the oversight board, scientific advisory committee and the institutional collaboration platform, the ACPC partnered with the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) under the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) on the program to implement a robust climate research grant initiative. Through this research programme, the CR4D initiative disbursed grants to the 21 post-doctoral researchers who are the inaugural cohort covering foundational climate science, climate change impacts and policy alongside advocacy and knowledge frontiers. The grants were for an initial period of 12 months, which was later extended to 18 months to allow for in-depth investigations.

The research findings are a boost to the understanding and appreciation of climate change and development in Africa.

“The research initiative is already playing a critical role in mobilizing African climate researchers around a unified climate research agenda to address priority needs of policy makers and vulnerable communities in Africa, in addition to building the capacities of young African climate scientists through cross-regional exchanges, fellowship and secondments.” Jean-Paul Adam the director of technology, climate change and natural resources division at ECA says.

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
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Addis Ababa
Ethiopia
Tel: +251 11 551 5826
E-mail: eca-info@un.org