In Africa, a one-stop shop was set up to help countries adapt to climate change. And last week, with much fanfare, 60 regional knowledge centers endorsed the Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network as the continent’s portal for exchanging information on climate change.
But as Devex finds out, Africa’s only continental adaptation knowledge network runs without gas.
“AAKNet doesn’t have any funding at the moment,” said Richard Munang, policy and program coordinator for Africa’s climate change adaptation at the U.N. Environment Program. “Currently, we try to squeeze little finances from other ongoing projects.”
This year, the network needs about $575,000 to pay its staff, provide policy support, and work out knowledge management and capacity development systems. Over four years, the network requires $4 million to help countries craft policies and develop adaptation projects.
“Currently, plans are to increase the visibility and sell the idea to donors either bilaterally or through organizing a donor conference so as to get them to pledge support,” Munang told Devex. “With the challenges facing the continent, funding for the network is imperative.”
With UNEP’s backing, this one-stop shop taps the best minds from different knowledge centers, culls best adaptation practices across the region and shares tailor-fit information to vulnerable communities.
“For example, depending on the decision that COP19 offers on the modalities of adaptation, the Green Climate Fund will go operational,” Munang said. “But to ensure African countries can optimize their benefits from this fund, knowledge will need to be built. This can be easily done through bringing in an expert to talk and train countries in accessing this fund.”
Donors, Munang said, can get more from their money when they channel their resources to AAKNet.
“The aid will be delivered through UNEP following its guidelines,” he said.
The network, he noted, can rally support from other regional networks to come together and with such a collective effort, it can save money.
“The cost effectiveness is clearly shown: convening and utilizing the ability of other networks to address grand challenges in a collective, timely manner,” he said. “This avoids silos and duplication.”
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