The evolving landscape of climate services in sub-Saharan Africa: What roles have NGOs played?


With recent growth in funding and research on “resilience building”, interest in climate services has risen dramatically. Included in this trend is an increased emphasis on the use of climate and weather information for a range of purposes across multiple scales. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other non-state actors across Africa have responded accordingly, and are increasingly acting as brokers, and sometimes producers, of climate services as part of their activities. Drawing on research from Burkina Faso and Ethiopia as part of the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) programme, this paper critically examines the evolving climate services landscape and raises questions about what the future holds for climate services in sub-Saharan Africa. We ask two questions: How have national climate services in these countries evolved since the early 2000s when they first came to prominence? And how have NGO contributions to these services evolved over time? Our findings highlight a considerable evolution in the aims and capacities of climate service systems over this period. NGOs have contributed to this progress on multiple fronts, but we note that important opportunities for innovation remain. We also raise concerns about how the current financing and governance models may influence priority setting and the sustainability of “projectised” services. Accordingly, we call for a better understanding how power and politics shape the development and deployment of climate services. This paper provides insight on the evolving landscape of climate services, actors involved in its provision and implications for the future.

Harvey, B., Jones, L., Cochrane, L. et al. Climatic Change (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-019-02410-z