In recent decades, it has become abundantly clear that people on all continents are vulnerable to extreme weather and other climate-related impacts. The world must urgently adapt, but we have observed first-hand that many existing climate services in both Europe and Africa lack social engagement. There is an urgent need to expand and share knowledge by promoting deep engagements with a range of actors including governments, organisations and communities, and actors at the grassroots level. An additional motivation is that although communities that are already vulnerable to climate and weather fluctuations risk losing their livelihood and way of life with climate change, voices from these communities are seldom heard. Listening to people on the frontlines of climate change is essential to make adaptation just and effective, and we aim to help such voices to become more confident. Our main goal is to create world-leading transdisciplinary cooperation for mutual learning between African and European contexts regarding linking science to action, and building leadership and confidence in students, early-career researchers, practitioners, and businesses on the frontlines of climate action. We are a broad coalition of climate researchers and educators from Norway, South Africa and France, who will: (1) Move science into action and vice versa by developing immersive annual schools focusing on climate action; (2) Organise annual workshops reaching within and beyond our own communities; and (3) Promote exchanges of students, researchers, and lecturers between countries.
CATER builds on existing collaborations in the CONFER Horizon 2020 project, in which we co-develop climate services for East Africa with regional stakeholders. Based on our experiences in CONFER and other initiatives, we have come to challenge the notion that climate services are a one-way delivery of data from a ‘producer’ to an ‘end user’. In reality, the uptake of climate information leading to climate action in any setting requires extensive and iterative two-way engagement across sectors and disciplines, which is usually referred to with a broad brush as ‘co-production’. Our unique consortium from Norway, South Africa and France will work with students, practitioners, businesses, and not least between ourselves (researchers and educators) to:
(1) Move science into action and vice versa by developing immersive annual schools focusing on climate action. This will be an arena where the students and lecturers will, together, engage with topics in the emerging intersection of climate research and practical climate adaptation, enhancing their capability to link climate research to real-world practice.
(2) Organise annual workshops reaching within and beyond our own communities. The overarching focus will be on cultivating a community of practice to enhance climate action and decision-making capacity, by planning and evolving the school programme, and developing joint research ideas, proposals, and papers.
(3) Promote and facilitate exchanges of people between our countries by providing seed money for further funding through applications to public exchange programmes.
We mean to take a world-leading position by nurturing a cohort of academics able to think beyond the confines of academia to clarify the science-society divide between research and practice in climate adaptation, and by making voices of the South louder and more confident in international settings.
INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research