Lum Edith Achamukong
February 15, 2013
The Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network (AAKNet) has been endorsed as the continental force that will henceforth coordinate, facilitate and strengthen the exchange of information and knowledge in fostering strategic planning on adaptation to climate change.
The network was authorized during a workshop hosted at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi Kenya on 05-06 February 2013. About 70 representatives from some 20 regional adaptation knowledge platforms and other organizations were unanimous on the pressing need for a “continental network for Adaptation in Africa”
The regional adaptation networks emphasized that Knowledge has a critical role in supporting, planning and the implementation of climate change Adaptation projects. However, such knowledge is shrouded by challenges such as fragmentation, lack of alignment of practices, insufficient understanding of end users and overlaps.
AAKNet was thus given the mandate to build new alliances in order to enhance collaboration and innovation, to harmonize and aggregate knowledge in useable packages tailored for addressing particular climate risks and building capacity so as to provide short, midterm and long-term solutions to climate change.
The delegates called on the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), an organ of the African Union (AU), to recognize AAKNet and give it legal and political status to steer adaptation efforts.
Speaking during the workshop, the Director of the Africa Regional Office of UNEP Dr.Mounkaila Goumandakoye said harnessing knowledge is vital because Africa is the most vulnerable continent to the impacts of climate change.
He assured the delegates that resource mobilization is underway to implement their recommendations given that susceptible areas of the continent like the Sahel and the Horn of Africa are not only having difficulties adapting to climate change but are equally experiencing conflict.
Dr.Mounkaila called for the networks to bridge the gap between policy and science and aim at concrete action because ten out of the eight top polluters have increased their emissions while six out of the ten fast growing economies are from Africa.
The workshop was held just after the Eighteenth Conference of Parties (COP18) that took place in Doha which injected some energy and momentum in advancing the adaptation agenda.