Statement During the Launch of The Cr4d.
The Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Climate Research for Development in Africa, The head of secretariat, colleagues ladies and gentlemen;
It is my profound pleasure to speak as the Chair of the Institutional Collaboration Platform of the CR4D, and extend the greetings of my organization, the Pan African Climate justice Alliance, our members and partners.
I also wish to welcome you to Nairobi, once the city in the sun, but now suffering the tragic third crisis characterized by air pollution, uncollected garbage, traffic jam, congestion, and most alarmingly, leadership deficit.
Today marks a critical moment for CR4D since it was established. The contribution of the research community to the discourse on climate change world over has remained the greatest pillar in shaping decisions in negotiations.
From a relatively back-water issue in late 1980s/90s to one of the most topical subjects of our times - shaping international political, diplomatic, economic and social interactions, the discourse on climate change has benefitted immensely from the evidence provided periodically by thousands of scientific researchers under the auspices of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate change. To refresh your minds, it is this research work which attracted the attention of the Nobel Committee, which honored IPCC jointly with former US Vice-President, Al Gore, with the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
The role of research is critically important in decision-making and development. The UNFCCC process could not have made significant strides which it has achieved were it not for the highly-acclaimed research studies and scientific advice provided by IPCC.
Obviously, thousands other institutions, including Universities and research centers have boosted the work of IPCC. And for a subject that has sometimes faced attacks from climate Deniers quick to poke holes into the credibility of arguments by climate change proponents, the integrity of the research should be sustained.
Never again, for instance, has the work of IPCC been subjected to open hostility and criticism as we saw with Special IPCC Report on 1.5 degrees, where some countries oscillating around the United States (which will go any length to discredit the UNFCCC and international climate dialogue process) openly questioned differed on whether to adopt or note the report submitted during the UNFCCC COP24 in Poland.
Much as we may not need a scientist to tell us as communities that seasons are shifting, the rainfall has become unpredictable, we will not longer plant and harvest in time, and that diseases which never appeared in some locations are now a common phenomena – and that these are the stark indicators of the changing climate - we need to make a compelling case for what we observe, and put it in a scientific format. That is why we are celebrating the launch of CR4D today, particularly in Africa, where concerns have been raised on the disproportionate number of researchers contributing to IPCC and other processes.
More importantly, is the evolution of research methodologies that seek to make the end consumer a robust participant at all levels of research work, thus ensuring the ownership of the outputs. This makes the design of CR4D a unique innovation in Africa, where, practically, a collaborative effort bringing together top scientists, researchers, academic institutions, policy makers, NGOs and communities will close the gap that has existed for Africa-driven, Africa-owned research.
The CR4D wants to write a new story in Africa – a story of collaboration, a story of partnership on research, a story of ownership. A story away from boardrooms and white-collar. A collaboration that gives voice to that smallholder farmer, camel /sheep/goat/cow owner, fisherfolk, SMEs, women, youth, PLWDs, the Aged, IPs, and all those at the frontline of climate crisis.
Those who have a story to tell, and whose knowledge on how to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change should shape future action to combat its impacts.
The Mandate of the Institutional Collaboration Platform (ICP) will ensure the promise of CR4D is kept at all times, at all levels.
To our members, we applaud your commitment to the vision of CR4D, and to other partners, and particularly DFID and the government of the United Kingdom, we extend our profound gratitude for your continued support. To our leaders within Climate for development in Africa Program (ClimDev Africa) under which mandate we derive our existence as an Initiative, we say thanks for the political leadership and support you’ve provided CR4D.
For the African Academy of Sciences, I say congratulations for winning the inaugural grant-management assignment for this initiative, and look forward to working with you as you embark on the exercise that will, as one Donald Trump says, “Make CRD4D Great.”
I thank you all.