“This is really kind of a critical priority because in my view, there’s a whole lot of noise around (adaptation issues), but not that many effective projects,” said Mark Redwood, a program leader on climate change and water at IDRC.
IDRC chose seven research projects in Africa, working with local stakeholders that deliver development projects on the ground to find the most effective investment options.
“One thing that they observed and which I also noted is that there are many, many adaptation projects that would not pass basic criteria for a development bank or a private investor,” said Redwood, who specializes in urban and environmental planning. “The benefits are difficult to identify, sometimes with climate change adaptation. The field is still sorting itself out a little bit, so basically there’s a disconnect . . . between those projects and the number of projects that a development bank could fund.”
Fast-start funding, a key commitment by developed countries in recent international climate change negotiations, was supposed to build a foundation for a global green climate fund, worth about $100 billion per year by 2020, to help developing countries cope with escalating impacts of global warming on their economies and way of life. But lacking any tools to measure the value of dollars spent, the proposed fund is different from the Clean Development Mechanism and other provisions under the Kyoto Protocol that allow private companies or countries to invest in projects that measure and track the level of emissions reductions.
“There’s no standardized reporting format (to evaluate the value of fast start funding announcements by countries) and either you believe it or you don’t,” said David Waskow, climate change program director of Oxfam America. “We don’t have those measurements and so we have countries putting out their own numbers and their own formats . . . without any clarity.”
On November 25, 2011, Canada’s Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, announced funding for seven winning projects from across Africa. Also in attendance at the Ottawa announcement were two of the AARC recipients: Saïd Hounkponou from Benin’s Initiatives pour un Développement Intégré Durable and via video from South Africa, Lindiwe Majele Sibanda from the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Network.
AARC supports seven centres of excellence across Africa to enable each to conduct research and strengthen organizational capacity in the field of climate change adaptation. Its goal: to improve the ability of African research centres to deliver scientific advice to decision-makers that will inform national adaptation strategies and investment decisions.
The initiative is a three-year, CA$10 million project managed by IDRC’s Climate Change and Water program and funded through the Government of Canada’s $400 million Fast-start Climate Financing, announced in 2010 as part of Canada’s commitment under the Copenhagen Accord. It builds on the accomplishments of the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program, a six-year initiative (2006-2012) jointly funded by IDRC and the UK’s Department for International Development.
AARC Research Projects
The AARC initiative supports seven projects across Africa in:
- Benin, to build resilience in rural communities threatened by food insecurity and rural poverty due to climate change (led by the NGO Initiatives pour un Développement Intégré Durable);
- Burkina Faso, to reduce the risk of food insecurity to farmers in the Sahel, a region that has experienced a decline in rainfall and a high degree of variability to the start of rainy seasons (led by the Institut International d’Ingénierie de l’Eau et de l’Environnement);
- Ghana, to inform adaptation strategies that protect the health, livelihoods, and food security of people living in the urban, coastal township of Ga Mashie in Accra (led by the Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana);
- Egypt, to establish an adaptation research centre for the Nile Delta, an area that is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change (led by the University of Alexandria);
- Kenya, to investigate climatic risk, vulnerability, and appropriate adaptation strategies in the food crops and livestock production sectors in arid and semi-arid lands (led by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute);
- Horn of Africa, to measure the impacts of climate change on agriculture and water resources and recommend feasible adaptation options in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Tanzania (led by the Sokoine University of Agriculture);
- Southern Africa, to conduct assessments of household vulnerability and encourage research-based food security policies by linking researchers and policymakers in South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, and Swaziland (led by the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network).