It is well known that there are several groups representing global climate science programs, such as the IPCC. Understandably, but unfortunately, the formation and implementation of most science programs has been dominated by researchers from the developed world, who typically constitute 80% of the participants involved. Further, most of the global climate change science programs do not necessarily address regional needs and are not fully implemented at the national and regional levels.
The second reason for the leadership program is thus to address this leadership capacity gap by developing local climate change leaders who can shape understanding of the extent and severity of climate-related stressors on African economies and ecosystems, and propose solutions on how countries can build resilience to these impacts.
The third reason for the climate change leadership program is to facilitate greater participation of the science communities of the targeted regions in the international assessments of the IPCC, to the mutual benefit of the IPCC and the science communities for climate action Africa. The research to be conducted will provide valuable knowledge inputs to future IPCC assessments and the participating researchers will enhance their abilities for making valuable contributions to IPCC assessments. This will be a highly visible means of IDRC’s support for the work of the IPCC.
The final intention of the leadership program is to broaden support for the integration of climate change mitigation and adaptation with national strategies for sustainable development and poverty reduction. The program will address climate change adaptation research, policy challenges and practical climate solutions. This will enable adaptation and mitigation decision-making that is based on the best available scientific knowledge and tried and tested solutions. It will do so by identifying climate change leaders; conducting training seminars for all the selected fellows; using research and practical evidence to inform active and ongoing policy formulation, reviewing or implementing processes within policy fellows’ work environment (where there is an existing “policy window of opportunity”) and providing appropriate advice in an action research mode;implementing practical climate solutions in an action research mode; carrying out advanced climate research; designing and implementing regional knowledge sharing and strengthening strategies; and convening national and regional science-policy-practice dialogues. These activities will be implemented by existing regional pool of expertise, which will be strengthened by their participation to serve as more active and effective interfaces between science and policy in their respective regions for climate change decision support.