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Future Climate For Africa: The political economy of long-lived decisions in Africa

Project Reference: RAGL-0004d

This project has been commissioned to help the Future Climate for Africa programme (FCFA) understand the political economy of long-lived decision-making in Africa. There is a critical need to understand institutional decision-making structures on the continent and to develop an approach that ensures that improvements in climate science for Africa are ‘decision relevant’ and integrated into relevant developmental decisions. This approach is particularly relevant in the context of long-term climate change adaptation decisions where immediate development priorities result in limited institutional capacity to think and act over a longer 5-40 year time horizon.

This study will provide a focused analysis to link a development-first approach to identifying adaptation challenges in Africa with fundamental and applied climate science produced by FCFA research consortia. The ultimate objective is to ensure that research feeds into select economic development decision-making processes.

The project aims to:

– Outline what the most significant long-lived economic decisions are in geographic and sectoral areas relevant to FCFA research.
– Identify specific adaptation challenges for economic development planning, investment and activities over the 5-40 year scale.
– Identify the key institutions and processes through which these decisions are made.
– Propose linkages between FCFA research and the identified decisions and actors.
– Advise the FCFA on a programmatic strategy for engaging relevant decision makers.

The work has been commissioned based on key learning from the FCFA scoping phase research. Political and socioeconomic factors can play a major role in determining the uptake of climate information in long-term decision-making. Political cycles and time horizons (i.e. the length of time politicians are in power), institutional structures within governments, and vested interests among decision-makers all influence the process of integrating science into policy. However, these are rarely acknowledged or addressed by climate-related actors. Three themes stand out from the findings from the FCFA scoping phase: i) a need to recognise the interactions between climate change and wider drivers of environmental and development change; ii) the ability to identify which types of decision should take climate information into account, and which need not; and iii) the influence of power, politics and timing.

About FCFA: Future Climate For Africa is a  £20million 5-year programme jointly funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). It aims to support world-leading research to enhance scientific understanding and prediction of extreme weather and climate in sub-Saharan Africa, and working with African stakeholders, bring this science into use in informing adaptation to climate change. For more information visit the programme website.

The work will be delivered by Pegasys.

Funding:  £100,000

Time Frame: January 2015 – October 2015

Project Manager: Jean-Pierre Roux



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