The Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) was conceived by DfID in 2015 to stimulate the uptake of climate information by policy makers and vulnerable groups including the youth and women. The thinking behind establishment of WISER is made clear by the following extract from the WISER business case:
Africa’s increasingly variable weather and climate threatens development. Agriculture and food security, water, energy, infrastructure, and health are already sensitive to weather related shocks. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and climate-related disasters (especially floods and droughts) will erode gains in poverty reduction and set back economic development.
WISER is composed of two components:
- The East Africa component whose implementation is led by the UK Met-Office
- The Pan Africa component led by ACPC
The structure and objectives of WISER are depicted below:
WISER components and delivery channel options
The objectives of the WISER Pan-Africa component are:
- Strengthen the governance and enabling environment for climate information services uptake and use in Africa, including evidence on impact, donor coordination, protocols for sharing data
- ACPC’s set up and first grants under Climate Research for Development (CR4D) (up to 6 grants to a maximum total value of $3m) for delivery in the period to December 2016
- Support a fellowship programme (particularly where such fellowships link to CR4D or sub-grant projects)
- Developing partnerships to the AGN and improve awareness and access to CIS among African youth, women and parliamentarians
WISER Pilot Phase
From June 2016 to May 2017, the ACPC implemented the pilot phase of WISER Pan-Africa component. In addressing the barriers to Climate Information Service (CIS) uptake in development planning and raising its importance to key stakeholders, the Pan-African component achieved several milestones including building constituencies and outreach, awareness generation and enhancing an enabling environment for CIS investments.
The WISER initiative has built substantive constituencies through:
- The parliamentary and CSO training workshop, as well as the Southern African Regional Climate Services Workshop which brought together various constituencies from key research and academic institutions, line ministries and regional economic communities on CIS.
- The CIS Day during the Sixth Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference (CCDA-VI) and the WISER consultative meetings brought together a wide range of constituencies across the continent in the socio-economic benefits (SEB) of CIS and value-for-money.
- The CR4D Regional Climate Research Partnership (RCRP) workshops helped to expand the landscape of collaboration among critical stakeholders in co-exploration, co-designing, co-producing and co-communicating demand-driven climate research for development planning.
- Regional pilot research projects on seasonal to sub-seasonal (S2S) fostered partnership with Regional Climate Centers (RCCs), National Meteorology and Hydrology Centers (NMHSs) and other institutions (e.g., universities, research centers, etc) in Central and West Africa.
- CIS events during COP22 focusing on knowledge management for impactful CIS, CIS solutions for African SIDS and climate resilience of infrastructure.
Previous interventions implemented by the ACPC, such as ClimDev-Africa and CR4D, as well as other interventions in CIS and development policy, have cumulatively contributed significantly towards increasing awareness of the value of CIS and the emergence of an environment that will increasingly incentivise the uptake and use of CIS in development policy and practice. These experiences contributed significantly towards creating traction for the WISER programme in relevant policy circles, and also informed the design and convening of various regional workshops and trainings on:
- The socio-economic utility of CI and CIS for different development sectors in Africa.
- Value for Money (VfM) of CIS.
- Integrating CIS into legislation, development policies, plans and practices.
- Seamless climate forecasting to improve decision making at S2S timescale.
- Co-exploring, co-designing, co-producing and co-communicating CI and CIS.
Through collaboration and partnership with WMO, AMCOMET, GFCS, WISER East African component, RCCs and NMHSs, the WISER pilot phase produced the following outputs:
- In collaboration with WMO, a consolidated baseline report on needs and gaps in RCCs was produced.
- A standardized methodology for CIS needs assessment and business planning in NHMS was produced.
- The SEB and VfM frameworks were validated and partners agreed to align their activities to the frameworks.
- A multi-institution and multi-stakeholder regional climate research partnership was formed in East and Southern Africa and their respective user-driven project concept notes were developed for funding.
- A comprehensive mapping exercise on African institutions, initiatives and experts at the sub-national, national, regional and Pan-African level was finalized and google-map was developed to understand the research landscape in Africa.
- Stakeholders validated findings from the S2S pilot research project in central Africa and information for decision-making process in the agricultural sector were synthesized in a comprehensive report that will serve to support evidence-based decision making processes.
WISER Phase II
The design of WISER phase II is informed by the lessons learnt from the pilot phase, especially the value for money (VFM) and social economic benefits (SEB) of CIS. The new phase commenced in July 2017 and will be implemented over a span of three years.
It is generally agreed that 2015 is a landmark year in the development of coherent global frameworks to guide development planning. The agreements concluded in 2015 include: (i) the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (SFDRR); (ii) the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; (iii) African Union’s Agenda 2063; (iv) the Addis Ababa Action Agenda; and (v) the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
For Africa, whose economies have been severely affected by global warming and climate change, successful implementation of any of these frameworks is fundamentally contingent on actions taken regionally and globally to address the negative impacts of climate change on the one hand, and/or to explore and use some of the development opportunities from climate change. As most of the 2015 development frameworks demonstrably point out, very little could be achieved by way of implementation of these frameworks without a complete mastery of the collection and analysis processes of climate data, which is the basis for reliable information for action on climate change at all sectoral levels.
To attain Africa’s development objectives as framed by the SDGs and the continent’s Agenda 2063, climate change must be integrated in development policy, planning and programmes in member States and regional economic communities (RECs). This requires an enabling environment for substantive investments and uptake of climate information services, supported by applied research and policy analyses, as well as coordinated approaches to service delivery, strengthened knowledge frameworks and partnerships between public institutions, the private sector, civil society and vulnerable communities. A key lesson from WISER Phase 1 is that the uptake of climate information and services (CIS) is largely dependent on the relevance of the information to the needs of the users. However, current information is usually determined by the imperatives of the producers of the information, with little or no input from the users, thus contributing to the low uptake and use of CIS. Furthermore, there will be need for coordination of the multiple initiatives and projects aimed at improving the generation of climate information. Currently, the sector is largely uncoordinated and focused on very small-scale projects, mostly on hydro-meteorological instrumentation, to the detriment of service delivery for transformational change.
In WISER phase II, the Pan-African component will seek to contribute towards the achievement of transformational change in the uptake and use of CIS in development processes across the continent. The intervention will continue to demonstrate the socio-economic benefits of CIS to policy makers through a combination of research and advocacy work, as well as promoting the engagement of the private sector and other investors in the production and use of CIS. The programme will, therefore, focus on research to produce evidence of socio-economic benefits of CIS, support for policies and coordination for strengthening the enabling environment for accelerated uptake of (CIS), as well as provide support for scale-out of the regional components of the programme, including via the development of Public, Private Partnerships (PPPs).
Specifically, ACPC’s interventions for enhancing the enabling environment falls under Pillar 2 (Strengthen African Regional Strategies) and Pillar 3 (Support the Improved Generation and Use of Climate Services) as elaborated in the business case of WISER and illustrated below.
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