Ensuring climate information guides long-term development

Journal articles or issues
August 2015
Lindsey Jones, Andrew Dougill, Richard G. Jones, Anna Steynor, Paul Watkiss, Cheikh Kane, Bettina Koelle, Wilfran Moufouma-Okia, Jon Padgham, Nicola Ranger, Jean-Pierre Roux, Pablo Suarez, Thomas Tanner and Katharine Vincent

Adapting to climate change is a challenge that spans timescales. Although communities are feeling the eects of climate change now, the most severe impacts will be felt in the decades to come. This presents significant obstacles to long-term development objectives.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in sub-Saharan Africa, a region currently confronting a large adaptation deficit and undergoing rapid social, economic and demographic transitions. Factoring medium- to long-term climate information (associated with interannual, decadal and multi-decadal timescales) into investments and planning decisions can therefore play an important role in guiding climate-resilient development and helping to safeguard economic development across the region.

The importance of promoting the uptake of medium- to long-term climate information into development planning often centres around two arguments. First, it can support anticipatory adaptation and help to guide long-lived investment and planning decisions in the face of changing external stressors. Second, it can assist decision-makers to identify and manage the risk of current actions leading to increased levels of vulnerability in the future.