Program Highlight: FRACTAL

Future climate change is expected to create an even more challenging environment for development in the sub-Saharan Africa. Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) is a 5-year programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). It aims to support world-leading research to enhance scientific understanding and prediction of extreme weather and climate in sub-Saharan Africa, and, working with African stakeholders, bring this science into use in informing adaptation to climate change.

FRACTAL (Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands) was the first of the regional FCFA research consortia to host their kick-off in August 2015. Over the next four years, FRACTAL’s work will be focused around three aims:

  1. To advance scientific knowledge on climate processes driving the southern African climate system’s natural variability and response to global change in historic and climate models;
  2. To improve the distillation of defensible climate information, that are informed by and tailored to urban decision making and risk management contexts; and
  3. To test the use of innovative “co-exploration” methodologies as a means to engage urban partners to integrate climate messages within real-world decisions.

 
Central to FRACTAL’s collaborative approach is the piloting of Learning Labs in Windhoek, Lusaka and Maputo, to open up a discussion forum through which city officials can explore the implications of climate variability and change for their urban contexts. Alongside the Learning Labs, a full-time embedded researcher will be deployed to each of the local city governments and work alongside researchers from local university partners to offer advisory services to city governments whilst simultaneously developing their understanding of the development contexts of the cities and the interaction between climatic and non-climatic stressors in these contexts.

Read more about FRACTAL on its START program page: http://start.org/programs/fractal