Africa contributes least to global greenhouse gas emissions at only 4% yet is hardest hit by the impacts of climate change. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) projections for 2020, suggested that between 75 and 250million people in Africa are exposed to increased water stress while yields from rain-fed agriculture are probably reduced by up to 50% in some countries because of climate change. There is a paucity of peer reviewed research outputs on climate change in Africa compared with the rest of the world.
Periodic assessments of the state of the world’s climate conducted by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), rely on peer reviewed data and therefore have very limited input from African scientists. The AAS aims to collate evidence that can feed into these global discussions and processes and to strengthen Africa’s role and influence in international negotiations on climate change to ensure a response to this challenge that will address continental priorities, ensuring effective mitigation for the benefit of African people. Two programmes at the AAS (CIRCLE and CR4D) have been specially designed to support climate scientists and are collectively supporting/funding more than 120 climate and environmental scientists in Africa. The consultative scientific process of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides various opportunities for African scientists to contribute to the global process. Unfortunately, the contribution and involvement of African scientists both in terms of contributing peer-reviewed publications or commenting on draft IPCC reports has been very limited. In July 2019, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) in coordination with IPCC Secretariat and the United Nations Institute for Natural Resource in Africa (UN-INRA) convened African scientists and key policy stakeholders to deliberate on these challenges and identify evidence-based actions to address the issues raised by IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR1.5). The meeting identified priority areas for the AAS to explore opportunities for enhancing AAS strategic contribution to the regional climate change and development forums in line with AU Agenda 2063 and other relevant regional and global frameworks. An outcome document from this meeting has been published and the subsequent policy paper following extensive evidence synthesis by the EC is currently being reviewed by internal reviewers. Dr Judy Omumbo has also published a blog on the prioritization exercise.