15 September 2015

Urban Resilience to Climate Change Challenges in Africa

In September 2015, CCAPS and the LBJ School of Public Affairs released a new report that examines the capacity of governmental systems to prepare for and respond to climate change and climate-related hazards in a set of large urban areas in Africa.

The report is based on a year-long Policy Research Project course that was co-directed by Robert H. Wilson and Todd G. Smith during the 2012-2013 academic year. The project explores the role of local government in developing resilience due to its key role in addressing urban vulnerabilities through the provision of local infrastructure and public services, promulgation and regulation of land use and building codes, and other local services that are crucial for effective adaptation to climate change. Although local government capacity in African cities has generally improved in recent decades, the priority for state reform in Africa has been primarily focused on national governments and political legitimacy. While many countries have developed, or are developing, national climate adaptation plans, efforts to systematically address adaptation at the local level frequently face the challenge of collaboration among multiple local government jurisdictions with limited capacity.

Seventeen graduate students at the LBJ School of Public Affairs participated in the Policy Research Project course and conducted field research in Africa under the CCAPS program funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. To investigate local government efforts in building resilience to climate change, the project adopted a comparative case study method examining 10 highly diverse, major African cities. Students travelled to and conducted interviews in 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.

The full report is available here and synopses of the project’s findings are also available in CCAPS Research Brief No. 30.

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