Thursday, November 28, 2013

Africa's best hope of combating climate change is to share knowledge

Richard Munang at "Climate change hub" at the Guardian (UK): ...The growing awareness of the impact of climate change has resulted in a large number of agencies, organisations, research institutes, and political bodies seeking to understand the patterns of vulnerability and how to adapt. While much information exists on successfully adapting to climate change's effects, it is often fragmented and difficult to access for those who need it. In African countries, there are still significant barriers and constraints to adaptation efforts.

The gaps in knowledge include how to conduct climate change impact assessment and vulnerability analysis, finding and implementing suitable policies and plans for improved resilience, experimenting through pilot projects, demonstration of successful initiatives, full scale implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of adaptation strategies that have been undertaken.

Access to relevant and up to date technical information is a better base for efficient and targeted policies. More information strengthens institutions, which in turn make the policies, laws and regulations better fitted to prepare for future challenges. Many lessons have been learned and it is time to more effectively use the knowledge that has been built through experience and scientific analysis. Successful adaptation strategies require custom-made solutions to local and regional challenges. When such information is lacking, it is more difficult to prepare for and react to climate change induced threats and crisis. There is an urgent need for access to relevant knowledge and technical resources, as well as the capacity to utilize these resources where they are needed.

The Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network (AAKnet) is a platform that aims to build a shared knowledge base to help build an innovative community, to enhance adaptive actions through sharing lessons, knowledge and information. The ministers also recognised the growing dialogue on climate change adaptation that bridges the continent by formally highlighting a conference attended by nearly 800 participants including farmers, development professionals, policymakers, private sector leaders amongst many. The First Africa Food Security and Adaptation Conference, held in Nairobi on 20 and 21 August 2013 clearly demonstrated the link between adaptation and food security, and the resulting conclusions and recommendations from the conference were endorsed and supported by the ministers....

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