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WORKING PAPER: Exploring the role of climate science in supporting long-term adaptation and decision-making in sub-Saharan Africa (FCFA)

By Lindsey Jones, Elizabeth Carabine, Anna Hickman, Lara Langston, Shehnaaz Moosa and Ronald Mukanya

Africa faces considerable challenges in adapting to the long-term impacts of climate change. Policy-makers not only have to contend with projected changes to the region’s climate, but also high vulnerability to existing climate variability and low levels of adaptive capacity in many countries and communities.

Ensuring that policy-makers are able to respond to the medium- and long-term implications of climate change is important in promoting climate-resilient development. Despite the uncertainties that are associated with it, climate science can support planners in making informed decisions on future investments aimed at optimising the use of scarce resources available to them. Yet there is a lack of evidence for – and detailed understanding of – gaps in the uptake of science for long-term strategies for climate-resilient development, particularly for sub-Saharan Africa.

In helping to overcome these barriers, the CDKN report Exploring the role of climate science in supporting long-term adaptation and decision-making in sub-Saharan Africa brings together information from two sources:

1. a review of articles and ‘grey’ (unpublished) literature on knowledge gaps and areas needed to support the capacity of African decision-makers
2. two regional activities: a workshop in London that brought together UK- and Africa-based experts working on climate science and adaptation in Africa; and a side-event to the Africa Climate Change Conference 2013 in Arusha, Tanzania, that gathered together regional scientists and practitioners, and consolidated gaps and priority activities for enhancing the uptake of science in decision-making.

The report is intended to identify key gaps in science and capacity to feed into the scoping phase of the Future Climate For Africa (FCFA) programme. This initiative seeks to advance the scientific understanding of the sub-Saharan African climate on decadal timescales and, working with African stakeholders, use this science to inform long-term climate-resilient development strategies.

Download the full report: Exploring the role of climate science in supporting long-term adaptation and decision-making in sub-Saharan Africa.

FCFA contact: Lindsey Jones

Learn more about FCFA here.