Red Cross/ Red Crescent Climate Centre

Linking climate science and adaptation at the African Climate Conference, Tanzania

29/10/2013 - by Bettina Koelle, Climate Centre
Over 300 scientists and practitioners gathered in Arusha, Tanzania, earlier this month to share the latest developments in climate science and discuss how Africa can respond to climate variability and change.  
 
There was broad agreement that increased frequency and severity of extreme events is already observable in Africa, even if exact understanding of how rainfall patterns have changed, or might change over time, is more difficult. 
 
Sessions at the Africa Climate Conference 2013 (ACC2013) focused on how to link the latest science to policy and practical action on the ground. 
 
While it was agreed that science can inform disaster risk management and long-term adaptation, it was also clear that uncertainty in climate models is sometimes difficult to translate to users of climate information. 
 
To bridge this gap several ideas were presented, including one that focused on the “co-generation” of knowledge – a process in which scientists and stakeholders work together to translate climate services into practical action. 
 
This way, importantly, local knowledge is included in understanding climate variability and change and developing robust disaster management and adaptation. 
 
Urgent action
 
An innovative approach to experience-based learning – the Attribution Game that explores links between farming, science and policy – was piloted at ACC2013 by a team from ACE-Africa and partners the Africa Climate Exchange, the UK Met Office, Oxfam GB, and Oxford and Reading Universities, and supported by the Climate Centre. 
 
This educational decision-making game will be launched on the global stage at COP19 in Warsaw next month. 
 
Statements adopted at the end of the conference call for a range of urgent actions, including increased capacity for climate forecasting in Africa, and improved application of science in policy and the management of disaster risks. 
 
The Africa Climate Conference 2013 was organized under the auspices of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC). 
 
Delegates at the 2013 Africa Climate Conference conclude the negotiation phase of the Attribution Game. (Photo: Bettina Koelle/Climate Centre)