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23 September 2015

CCAPS Releases Research on Climate Change Resilience in Urban Africa

The CCAPS program released today two briefs on climate change resilience in urban cities in Africa. The first brief, Climate Change Resilience in Urban Africa: Part I: The Policy Challenge, examines the efforts made by ten African cities to develop resiliency to climate events. The second brief in the two-part series, Climate Change Resilience in Urban Africa: Part II: The Resilience Policy Agenda, first describes the policy system for developing urban resilience initiatives and then identifies the forces that shape local plans and initiatives to build urban resilience to the climate change hazards described in the first brief.

The briefs cover research that was conducted during a Policy Research Project led by Dr. Robert Wilson and Todd Smith at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. The policy project sought to assess the ability of local governance systems in large African cities to develop resilience and thereby enhance the collective well being of their populations. Ten major African cities were selected for study including Accra, Ghana; Alexandria, Egypt; Cape Town, South Africa; Casablanca, Morocco; Dakar, Senegal; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Johannesburg, South Africa; Kampala, Uganda; Luanda, Angola; and Maputo, Mozambique. Each city has a unique institutional structure and context (including the authority vested in local governments by national government) and a unique set of exposures to weather-related hazards.

Research Brief No. 29, the first brief in the series, examines three types of hazards–flooding, sea-level rise, and drought– in ten African cities using a comparative case framework. The study identifies significant man-made sources of vulnerability stemming from inadequate infrastructure and land use planning, rapid population growth, and the location of significant transportation and economic assets in flood-prone areas.Changing weather patterns, driven by global climate change, will generate additional challenges in the growing cities of Africa where high levels of poverty, strained infrastructure systems, and lack of adequate housing already burden local governments. How will the consequences of future climate change affect people living in African cities and what determines the vulnerability to these exposures?

Local governments are increasingly confronted with challenges resulting from weather events related to global climate change. Research Brief No. 30 examines the efforts made by ten African cities to develop resiliency to climate events. The policy systems within which the cities are embedded include national governments and an array of multilateral organizations and nongovernmental organizations. These systems create opportunities as well as barriers to local government action. Although some progress is observed, local governments are generally not effectively engaged in this policy agenda as a result of inadequate authority and resources.

Robert H. Wilson is the Mike Hogg Professor of Urban Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Todd G. Smith is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and CCAPS research assistant.

Climate Change Resilience in Urban Africa: Part I: The Policy Challenge (Research Brief No. 29) is available here.

Climate Change Resilience in Urban Africa: Part II: The Resilience Policy Agenda (Research Brief No. 30) is available here.

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