Impact through policies and partnerships

A. Jarvis (CIAT)

West African Science–policy dialogue platforms help mainstream climate change and engage local stakeholders

West Africa

How to tackle the issue of climate change within major national development initiatives can be a real challenge for decision makers. In Senegal and Mali, the CCAFS West Africa team have provided guidance through regular meetings of national science–policy dialogue platforms. In addition, three district-level platforms established in each country and Ghana help ensure that local-level priorities are incorporated at the national level, and provide evidence of what does and does not work at a local level. The district level work is being led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

Farmers in West Africa need leaders to step-up and take on the challenge of battling climate change in the region
Farmers in West Africa need leaders to step-up and take on the challenge of battling climate change in the region. CCAFS West Africa

Science–policy dialogue platforms aim to identify national priority issues requiring updated information and knowledge to guide decision-making for institutional policies, strategies and development plans. They also assess new national development initiatives from the agriculture and food security sectors to inform national stakeholders on the best ways to ensure their successful implementation and sustainability.

The platforms have informed clear recommendations for how to better mainstream climate change into national policies—but they have also shown the importance of engagement. As well as informing national initiatives, district-level platforms attended by key regional stakeholders provide a vibrant knowledge-sharing hub to swap news and concerns related to climate change and agriculture in the region.

The first district-level platform held in Mali was joined by a wide range of partners, including traditional authorities, scientists and lecturers from national universities, technical service providers such as the Regional Union of Milk Producers Cooperative Societies, an agro-processing and marketing cooperative, and farmer-based and grassroots organisations. All were eager to meet and discuss climate change and food security.

“Through the platform I will be able to meet technicians and researchers, and discuss very directly what concerns we have and how we can work together to find solutions to our many climate change-related problems. I hope you see why I think that with this platform, things will never be the same again!” Mamadou Cissé, President of the Regional Union of Milk Producers’ Cooperative Societies