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Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate

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Africa and Europe collaborate to enhance Africa’s resilience to climate change

Climate change-related challenges are among the most pressing global threats of this millennium. Africa and Europe are working together to share and create knowledge, build partnerships and target projects that will prepare Africa to meet them.

Climate Change and Environment
Society
Health

Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change and many African organisations and networks are working hard on solutions to mitigate impact on the continent. The EU-funded AfriAlliance project is helping them join forces with each other and with European stakeholders to share knowledge, strengthen capacity and generally accelerate innovation to better prepare Africa to meet future climate change and water security challenges.

Working together for a better future

Project coordinator Uta Wehn explains: “AfriAlliance has launched 10 demand-driven Action Groups across Africa, bringing together African and European peers working jointly towards implementable solutions. The projects focus on topics as diverse as water harvesting for agriculture, water resources management, citizen science and water stewardship.” AfriAlliance now counts a community of over 500 entities, highlighted on the AfriAlliance Stakeholder Map. They comprise non-profit, business, academic and funding organisations; women’s, youth and agricultural groups; public authorities; and various platforms and projects. Raising awareness and building strength in numbers will play a key role in meeting future challenges.

Knowledge is power

In addition to bringing people together, AfriAlliance is putting information at their fingertips through its Knowledge Hub. This one-stop shop provides the policy briefs and social innovation factsheets produced by the project as well as water and climate updates and relevant scientific papers and reports. The Knowledge Hub also hosts information about online learning opportunities offered by both AfriAlliance and other institutions. The next AfriAlliance massive open online course will run in June 2020 and focuses on social innovation for water and climate challenges in Africa. People can check out upcoming events on water and climate, funding opportunities as well as education, scholarship and career opportunities. The team has also developed a method to collect and analyse water and climate data. Wehn continues: “AfriAlliance has created the Triple Sensor Collocation methodology for monitoring and forecasting. It enables users to validate three independent observations on water and climate – citizen-sourced, satellite and conventional ground station data – and rank their reliability.” An interactive demo is available on the project website and the Demonstration Toolbox software and documentation can be downloaded from there too. The team’s GeoData portal now has over 140 entries and meta-information on African water resources and climate data.

Solidifying the foundations for security and sustainability

“AfriAlliance has identified and prioritised the needs of African water managing organisations in the context of various climate change scenarios. We are evaluating solutions, both existing and new, and barriers to their uptake. AfriAlliance has developed novel ways to bridge needs and solutions, including via our Innovation Bridge Events and Roadshows. The next step is strengthening the enabling environment for water innovation in Africa. To that end, the team has put forth guiding principles and recommendations to provide direction for innovation policy for the African water sector,” reports Wehn. Considered in the context of current best practices and local conditions, these will enable successful co-design, adaptation and implementation of water and climate change innovations in Africa. Aside from building the foundations for targeted action, AfriAlliance has prepared business plans for several project outputs to ensure their sustainability beyond the project lifetime. The 5-year project runs for another year but its impact will continue to grow, bolstering Africa’s resilience to climate change.

Keywords

AfriAlliance, Africa, climate, water, agriculture, sanitation, Triple Sensor Collocation, forecasting, geodata

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