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IDRC/AARC Research to Policy Inception Workshop
Accra, Ghana
18 June 2011 - 21 June 2011


Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) recently held an inception meeting for its African Adaptation Research Centres (AARC) initiative in Accra, Ghana. The inception meeting was hosted by the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), the University of Ghana.

IDRC supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development. Under the AARC initiative, IDRC supports a limited number of African institutions to deliver timely scientific advice and expert assessment for adaptation investments and policy decisions across the continent. The initiative supports African research institutions to contribute needed expertise on climate change adaptation. The initiative aims to help:
  • Establish the conditions for institutions to carry out high quality adaptation research;
  • Ensure that promising developing country researchers and students choose to remain in their own country or region, and diaspora African scientists working abroad return to Africa, and are able to access the means to conduct rigorous research;
  • Build a strong base of evidence on adaptation to inform decision makers on the use and targeting of climate change funding, including rigorous economic analysis; and
  • Increase the capacity of African institutions to engage as strong players with African governments, to contribute research findings and recommendations to inform adaptation policies and initiatives.
Through the AARC initiative, IDRC recently awarded seven three-year grants for project proposals by research institutions in South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Benin, Burkina Faso and Egypt. FANRPAN's project based in South Africa is entitled "Strengthening Evidence-Based Climate Change Adaptation Policies (SECCAP) for Agriculture" (see www.fanrpan.org/themes/eachproject/?project=25 for project details). At the same time, the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) has been selected by IDRC to develop a knowledge platform to act as a window for policy influence in climate change adaptation across the continent.

The objective of the AARC initiative workshop was to ensure that the selected projects are able to strengthen the capacity and the chances of their institutions to connect the proposed applied research to policy, and in particular to national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs)and/or to other national and regional climate change adaptation master plans and strategies; and to respond to priorities/questions coming from the national level. The specific objectives of the workshop were to:
  • Identify key entry points, opportunities and practical channels for influence or support to policy makers (including specific people/champions from the public policy sector);
  • Discuss effective dissemination and communication strategies in the specific context of each project activities and of the AARC initiative at large;
  • Explore synergies between projects so as to strengthen the goal of the AARC initiative as a whole;
  • Discuss opportunities to collaborate with IDRC supported knowledge platforms;
  • Connect with financial institutions, their funding priorities and grant allocation procedures;
Theworkshop managed to:
  • Identify specific mechanisms to connect local and national policy makers as users of research findings throughout the life of the projects;
  • Discuss effective communication strategies and ways to engage with the media, also in preparation for UNFCCC CoP17;
  • Identify synergies among and common features of the AARC supported projects, and practical ways to collaborate with CORAF and the AfricaAdapt network; and
  • Gain appreciation of the decision-making process of the various climate change funds in existence, in view of future resource mobilization and the financial sustainability of the projects activities.
The workshop was attended by 40 people. FANRPAN was represented by Dr Sepo Hachigonta (Climate Change Programme Manager) and Mr Ian Mashingaidze (Social Protection and Livelihoods Programme Manager).

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