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Day 1 African Climate Risks Conference: Urgency of climate adaptation action for Africa stressed by high level speakers on first day of ACRC 2019

Day 1 of the African Climate Risks Conference began with over 350 researchers gathering from 52 different countries across the African continent and abroad (including the UK, Europe, and America) to discuss the latest research on African climate.

Opening session of ACRC. ( Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth).

 

The African Climate Risks Conference (ACRC) is an open platform for sharing the latest research on African climate among researchers, and with policy makers, Regional Climate Centres (RCCs), National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS), and development partners. ACRC’s goal is to ensure greater impact and legacy of completed and ongoing research programs by promoting the uptake of new data, tools and knowledge; brokering new research collaborations; and coordinating targeted donor support.

Fekadu Beyene, Commissioner, Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Commission, Ethiopia. (Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth).

 

High level speakers from the UN Disaster Risk Reduction, UN Economic Commission for Africa, WMO Africa, Department for International Development, National Met Ethiopia and the Commissioner of the Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Ethiopia officially opened the ACRC in particular many highlighted the recent disasters, such as Cyclone Idai and Beira, that have struck the continent and the pertinent need for this conference in assessing and addressing the risks of climate change on Africa.

Fekadu Beyene (Commissioner of the Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Ethiopia) noted the vulnerability of Africa to climate change and relevance of the ACRC;

“Climate change will impact the world because of inaction, we are told by science that things are not good but people remain inactive. We are vulnerable on the continent and we need help with adaptation measures as they require finances, technology, capacity building and expertise in weather and climate.”

Rosalind West (Climate science and services advisor, DFID, UK) reminded the delegates of the opportunities that ACRC provides:

  1. To listen and learn from each other – climate change poses cross-cutting risks so need to work across disciplines and hierarchies
  2. We need to speak the same language and its about collaboration – building on ideas with new contracts
  3. Scaling up – the projects have made great progress now we should look to expand on them.

John Marsham (University of Leeds, UK) the Principal investigator for the FCFA HyCRISTAL research consortium provided an overview of the climate science advances that HyCRISTAL have made. (Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth).

 

The five Future Climate for Africa consortia shared their latest climate science findings. John Marsham highlighted that “It was exciting for me to see this growing community – from local on the ground to scientists and all the way up to the prime minister work together on climate change.” Chris Jack from FRACTAL emphasised the need to re-frame how we do climate science to inform decision-making, “It is not about more science but about doing science differently, doing it humbly, transparently and making it accessible.”

There were a number of parallel thematic sessions, workshops, and trainings that took place throughout the day including sessions on;

  • The latest climate science
  • Co-production
  • Adaptation in agriculture
  • Journalist briefing on the IPCC Special Reports. Read more on this session here.
  • Climate information distillation and communication
  • Collaborative resilience building through the Theatre Forum approach

Discussions taking place at the Evidence for Action – climate risk analysis session. (Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth).

 

Alice McClure, (Climate Systems Analysis Group, University of Cape Town, South Africa) from FRACTAL reflects how shared learning on receptivity can be more important than entry points in the co-production session. (Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth)

 

AMMA-2050 presented their findings from the Theatre Forum process to delegates in a workshop entitled “Exploring differing priorities of actors engaged in collaborative resilience-building through Theatre Forum.” (Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth).

 

Delegates share their thoughts on the conference through an interactive survey board. (Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth).

 

The next two days of the ACRC will continue to build on the theme of dismantling the barriers to urgent climate adaptation action through more knowledge sharing, networking, discussions, and learning amongst delegates, and where FCFA researchers will continue to share their findings from their projects.

This article was written by Beth Mackay with photos by Kiara Worth (IISD).