The Climate Research for Development (CR4D) is an African-led initiative supported by partnership between the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) to strengthen links between climate science research and climate information needs in support development planning in Africa. CR4D is the outcome of the African Climate Conference 2013 (ACC-2013) that was held in Arusha, Tanzania, which brought together more than 300 participants including the African climate scientists, policy makers, climate service providers, and practitioners to discuss the state of African climate science and the existing gaps in climate knowledge. Participants of ACC (2013) recommended the establishment of an African climate research agenda for climate services and development and officially launched in Cape Verde by the Third Session of AMCOMET (February 2015).
Following the establishment of the CR4D governing bodies (i.e., the Oversight Board (OB), the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and the Institutional Collaboration Platform (ICP), the ECA-ACPC partnered with the African Academy of Sciences (The AAS) and DFID under the WISER program to implement and manage small but potentially scalable research grant mechanism. Consequently, the CR4D initiative has matured to a level where it granted the first cohort of 21 post-doctoral research grantees from Benin, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Namibia, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal and Zimbabwe in June 2019 under the foundational climate science, climate change impacts and policy/advocacy knowledge frontiers.
Justification for the side-event
Climate research in Africa is fragmented and are not mainly demand-driven, responsive to the user needs, and be situated within the contexts of Agenda 2063, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. Hence, the intensity and frequency of disruptions in natural and socioeconomic systems caused by climate change require African-led demand-driven researches in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, resilience building, as well as capitalizing on emerging opportunities especially for trade. For instance, by harnessing climate information and services for decision-makers, the agriculture sector will be better placed to provide food for a more crowded and increasingly urban world. Similarly, through trade interventions, we can facilitate the movement of food from places of excess to places where they are most needed and thereby significantly cut back on food losses, lower the cost of food importation incurred annually to address food and nutrition security, and enhance timely response to aid supplies during disasters. The CR4D initiative is, therefore, representing a paradigm shift to deal with climate change and development in the continent by integrating Africa-wide climate researches to deliver on end users priority needs. It could also play a critical role in mobilizing African climate researchers around a unified climate research agenda to address priority needs of policy makers and vulnerable communities in Africa; and building the capacity of African climate scientists through cross-regional exchanges, fellowship and secondments.