ACCFP Policy Fellows attend advanced institute on climate change adaptation in Dar es Salaam

The African Climate Change Fellowship Program (ACCFP) Policy Advanced Institute (AI) took place 18 to 22 January 2016 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The AI provided 10 ACCFP Policy Fellows from across Africa with a broadened understanding of climate change adaptation in four key areas: 1) climate change and gender; 2) climate change and water; 3) climate change and green growth; and 4) the economics of climate adaptation. Six facilitators delivered lectures, led group discussions, and helped fellows analyze case studies and problem sets. The final day was devoted to integrating learning across modules, learning how to communicate to decision-makers in different contexts, and fellow presentations.

Day 1 was dedicated to the climate change and gender module. Jane Takang led three sessions, beginning with a small group activity, where fellows were tasked with defining gender. From there, Ms. Takang led the fellows through a deeper exploration of gender issues in Africa, and the linkages between gender, climate change, and agriculture. These linkages were captured in a case study of Cameroon. The final session allowed fellows to analyze case studies on gender, climate change, and land tenure for Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Mali.

Day 2 was facilitated by Dr. Victor Kongo, from the University of Dar es Salaam and Dr. Mzime Murisa, from Chinhoyi University. The day concentrated on climate change and water, with Dr. Kongo beginning by presenting the impacts of climate change on the hydrological system and water resources. Dr. Murisa followed and shifted the focus to the impacts of climate change on river basin and wetland ecology and livelihoods. Dr. Murisa gave the fellows a problem set, which taught them to perform basic statistical calculations for precipitation and temperature in river basins, and compare trends between basins. The afternoon sessions emphasized policy, with Dr. Kongo describing Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), presenting a case study on participatory catchment monitoring in South Africa, and leading a discussion on the role, efficacy, and appropriateness of IWRM in African countries. Dr. Murisa expanded on these ideas with a presentation and group discussion on transboundary river basin governance, policy, and planning. Edith Adera, from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), closed the day by presenting a case study on using information and communication technology (ICT) tools for community-based adaptation to the effects of climate change on agriculture in Uganda.

Day 3 covered the economics of climate adaptation, and climate change and green growth. Paul Watkiss, from Watkiss and Associates, led the morning sessions on economics. Dr. Wilfred Nyangena, from the University of Nairobi, and Dr. Nicholas Ozor, from the African Technology Policy Studies Network, led the green growth sessions in the afternoon. Mr. Watkiss described the evolution of economic assessment approaches for adaptation, the importance of choosing the right discount rate and taking uncertainty into consideration, different types of adaptation options, and entry points for mainstreaming adaptation at different levels of governance. Fellows were given a problem set on discounting that was followed by a discussion of the impacts of different discount rates, when combined with uncertainty, on the costs and benefits of adaptation options. Dr. Nyangena followed up with a more technical presentation on different economic valuation methodologies, including cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, multi-criteria analysis, and integrated modeling systems. Dr. Ozor concluded the day by leading a discussion on what green growth is and how it is different from sustainable development.

On Day 4, the fellows were treated to a field trip to a sisal biogas plant where they were able to see how sisal is processed into material for export, and the waste converted into fertilizer and biogas for electricity production. It was an example of zero waste production and green growth on the ground. The plant manager, Gilead Kissaka, explained the multiple uses for sisal, and how the closed loop fertilizer and biogas production system worked. The fellows and facilitators found the concept innovative and were motivated to learn more about similar projects that are economically profitable, while having multiple social and environmental benefits.

The fifth and final day (Day 5), was perhaps the most packed. Dr. Nyangena and Dr. Ozor led sessions in the morning wrapping up the green growth material. Dr. Nyangena described his experience integrating green growth into strategies in Kenya, and Dr. Ozor discussed renewable energy policies in African countries. The remaining sessions were facilitated by Niki West and Senay Habtezion from START, and dedicated to integrating learning from the four modules and experimenting with different ways of communicating to decision-makers. Fellows were given personalized scenarios for communicating to a decision-maker, based on their current employment and ACCFP projects. Fellows then gave presentations to the group, where they had to identify the most effective means of communicating a specific message based on their scenario. This activity was followed by analysis of a biogas project case study, emphasizing the cross-module linkages. Fellows were split into three groups—a biogas developer, a national government ministry, and an NGO—to debate the trade-offs of the biogas project. The day and the AI concluded with fellows working in groups of two to prepare and deliver a longer presentation to a decision-maker. The presentation allowed the fellows to incorporate material from all four modules, as well as the sessions on cross-module linkages and communicating to decision-makers. Fellows received verbal feedback from the facilitators on their presentations, and in some cases, offers to connect the fellows to experts relevant to their ACCFP project.

It was a solidly packed five days of presentations, participatory activities, discussion, and experiential learning. Despite the participants’ exhaustion by the end of Day 5, all said the week had flown by and they had learned a phenomenal amount. With so much new information for the fellows to absorb over the weeks following the AI and to incorporate into their ACCFP projects, the culmination meeting in the fall is sure to be an exciting one.

To learn more about ACCFP, visit our program page, or contact Niki West (nwest@start.org).