One of the key aims for CONFER is to successfully co-produce climate services for East Africa. This includes not only enhancing existing climate services, but also co-develop new ones in close collaboration with stakeholders in the region. We want to make sure that climate services are accessible to the people who need them the most, which can only happen by working in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the region.
This part of CONFER aims to enhance existing Climate Services in East Africa and to co-produce new ones with local stakeholders in the region. These climate services will mainly be focused on three sectors in the region: water, energy and agriculture and food security.
How will we go about doing it?
Our research is divided into four main tasks. First, we need to understand the current landscape of climate services in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) to help us not only to prioritise which services we want to enhance but also identify current gaps in climate services provision. Furthermore, we need to figure out how we can go about co-producing these climate services. We aim to produce three new climate services for the three most important sectors in the region: water, energy and agriculture and food security. These will be co-produced in close collaboration with local stakeholders and the CONFER team. Finally, we need to test and evaluate the services to understand their uptake and usability by end users in the region.
We work in partnership with ICPAC. They currently provide climate services to 11 East African countries that constitutes GHA. These climate services help build resilience in the region, which is very much affected by extreme weather due to climate change.
GHACOF (Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum), which is hosted by ICPAC and their partners provides an important opportunity to understand the current landscape of climate services in GHA and identify gaps in climate services development and provision. It is an online event held three times a year and is attended by experts from multiple sectors including agriculture & food security, climate change, conflict, disaster risk management, Environment and forestry, health, livestock and water & energy. Normally, around 300-400 people attend, and GHACOF is a good opportunity for CONFER to understand what kind of users and stakeholders exist in the region. It is an arena where we can identify their climate information needs, as well as identify which Climate Services we want to enhance and which new ones we can offer.
Where are we at right now?
Stakeholder mapping: In close collaboration with sector heads at ICPAC, we are mapping the network of key stakeholders that use ICPAC products and weather and climate information from other sources such as National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS). The network of stakeholders will be used to understand the barriers to use of climate services and products based on user needs assessment. This will not only help us to identify opportunities to improve the products and its uptake but will aslo improve our understanding of actual and potential users of different climate services. Thus, our task to date has been gathering information to understand who these people are across the various countries in the region. We need to know who are using existing climate services, and to do so we need to take a step back.
Literature review: We are conducting a review of academic and grey literature to scope the landscape of climate services in the GHA region to improve our understanding of state of climate services development and use in the region. Mapping which climate services are operative and being used in the region will give us a clearer idea of which climate services we can enhance, and which gaps we need to address with new services.
User needs assessment: We are also taking a stock of ‘user needs assessments’ carried out previous and ongoing initiates and programmes in the region, to understand the weather forecast information needs and decision contexts across water, energy, and agriculture and food security sectors. This will help us build surveys and questionnaires to further assess the information needs based on the existing information.
Who is involved in this research topic/work package?
Marta Bruno Soares (University of Leeds) – Work Package Lead