An African development pathway that could propel climate-resilient economic growth is possible if an enabling environment that promotes innovation and collaborative actions for climate change solutions is put into place, concluded a side event themed “innovations and African collaborative approaches for transformative climate policy solutions” at COP22 today.
Organized by the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the side event was an opportunity for experts to showcase a number of initiatives on collaborative research and capacity development, which included the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) Programme for Climate Change Capacity Development (PCCCD); and WASCAL (the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use).
The SARUA Programme for Climate Change Capacity Development (PCCCD), has led to a consortium of seven universities from five SADC countries developing a regional Master’s curriculum in Climate Change and Sustainable Development, based on the principles of trans-disciplinarity and innovation; while WASCAL pools the expertise of ten West African countries and Germany to strengthen climate change research infrastructure and capacity.
Ms. Penny Urquhart, Independent analyst and member of the SARUA Curriculum Review Team said there is a need for funding in order to scale up these initiatives to a continental scale to support Africa’s development aspirations, reduce vulnerability, increase resilience and optimise low-carbon options for growth.
Other speakers included Daouda Kone, Director of the WASCAL doctoral programme in Climate Change and Biodiversity, Université Felix Houphouet Boigny, Côte d’Ivoire; Dr Wilfran Moufouma Okia, Head of Science, Technical Support Unit, IPCC and; Professor Roland Roesch, Senior Programme Office, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The event was moderated by Mr Linus Mofor, ACPC Senior Natural Resources Officer responsible for energy, infrastructure and climate change.
In summing up the session, Ms Simbisai Zhanje, Project Manager at the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) said that while capacity is important, capability is equally significant as the context in which implementation takes place can be an enabler or barrier. “Political will is an important capability factor in different contexts.” she added.