AFRICA: Pledge to create climate change think-tank

African countries have pledged to create a continental climate change think-tank composed of scientists and other experts, in addition to accelerating research in the field.

The pledge is contained in a communiqué issued at a meeting held from 17-19 November in Lilongwe, Malawi, and attended by members of two regional blocks - the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Southern African Development Community, as well as scientists and others.

Following the meeting, the countries said they now recognised the contribution of science in supporting climate change policy and decision-making at various all levels - local, national, regional and international - and so they would promote the allocation of adequate resources to support science and knowledge management, including capacity building and training programmes.

The communiqué added that the governments would develop a roster of African experts and an inventory of institutions dealing with climate change research in different thematic areas, and their respective capacities.

The participants agreed to support the establishment of an African Climate Change Knowledge Network that would enhance the capacity of scientists, policy-makers and other key stakeholders to address climate change issues by harnessing and applying climate change science and information, including traditional knowledge, in development planning and decision making, said the communiqué.

It was also agreed to enhance research capacity and development in climate change-related issues "and support African scientists to publish and develop communication products targeting different audience and users", and to facilitate the establishment of regional and national climate change think tanks and centres of excellence in different thematic areas.

The governments also pledged to support African scientists to develop appropriate and cost-effective adaptation and mitigation technologies, and to develop regional scenarios and projects based on home-grown scientific data and evidence.

The communiqué called on all African countries to prepare, in particular, innovative projects in agriculture, forestry and other land use in order to build the climate resilience of people and ecosystems.

It also pledged to place gender at the heart of forums on climate change and to create technical committees to tackle gender concerns, including in climate change policies and programmes.