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Climate change in Africa: linking science and policy for adaptation

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E. Corbera
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Proceedings of a workshop on linking science and policy for climate change adaptation in Africa, this document reviews the state of knowledge on Africa and climate change in order to identify capacity constraints in African research networks, use examples of existing research and development programmes aimed at reducing vulnerability, and to draw out lessons for policy-makers. Questions identified for future research include:the need to refine study of climate change modelling on shorter timescales (5-20 years) in order to be consistent with development priorities (e.g. the Millennium Development Goals)identify/analyse ways to improve collaboration between climate scientists and data users and resource managersexpand research efforts to understand the context-specific nature of vulnerability and adaptation, working with all levels of governments in order to identify policy interventions.Capacity constraints include:there is a need to better integrate climate-related information to sectoral policymakingidentify institutional mechanisms through which the natural disaster and climate change communities can be closely linked in terms of research effort and funding strategiescapacity-building should be a sustained process involving both African researchers and policy-makers, and conducting activities within African countries.Suggestions for policy-makers are:equal partnerships between Northern-based and African institutions, as well as African leadership, in networks and research programmes should be promotedgovernance, in the form of institutional capacity, is a key issuethere is a need to embed adaptation in existing planning systemsreliance on rain-fed agriculture makes people particularly vulnerable to climate impacts. Augmenting human capital through education and health care should be recognised as a critical process for enhancing resilience and adaptive capacityadaptation is undertaken by individuals and institutions across different scales and it should be seen as a process to be supported rather than an outside intervention that promotes standard or blueprint actionspolicy-makers’ responsibilities should include consideration of a wide range of stakeholders in cross-sectoral policy planningpromote risk-management strategies, including livelihood diversification and compensation measures or safety nets for the most vulnerablepromote disaster risk reduction strategies, which can be synergistic to other adaptation efforts.