Future Resilience for African CiTies And Lands (FRACTAL)

Lead Research Organisation: Met Office
Department Name: Government Business

Abstract

The problem: Building climate change resilience necessarily means building urban resilience. Africa's future is dominated by a rapidly increasing urban population with complicated demographic, economic, political, spatial and infrastructural transitions. This creates complex climate vulnerabilities of critical consequence in the co-dependent city-regions.
Climate change substantially complicates the trajectories of African development, exacerbated by climate information that is poorly attuned to the needs of African decision makers. Critical gaps are how climate processes interact at the temporal and spatial scales that matter for decision making, limited institutional capacity to develop and then act on climate information, and inadequate means, methods, and structures to bridge the divides. Current modalities in climate services are largely supply driven and rarely begin with the multiplicity of climate sensitive development challenges.
There is a dominant need to address this disconnect at the urban scale, yet climate research in Africa is poorly configured to respond, and the spatial scale and thematic foci are not well attuned to urban problems. Most climate-related policies and development strategies focus at the national scale and are sectorally based, resulting in a poor fit to the vital urban environments with their tightly interlocking place-based systems.
Response: FRACTAL's aim is to advance scientific knowledge about regional climate responses to anthropogenic forcings, enhance the integration of this knowledge into decision making at the co-dependent city-region scale, and thus enable responsible development pathways.
We focus on city-region scales of climate information and decision making. Informed by the literature, guided by co-exploration with decision makers, we concentrate on two key cross-cutting issues: Water and Energy, and secondarily their influence on food security. We work within and across disciplinary boundaries (transdisciplinarity) and develop all aspects of the research process in collaboration with user groups (co-exploration).The project functions through three interconnected work packages focused on three Tier 1 cities (Windhoek, Maputo and Lusaka), a secondary focus on three Tier 2 cities (Blantyre, Gaborone and Harare), and two self-funded partner cities (Cape Town and eThekwini).
Work Package 1 (WP1) is an ongoing and sustained activity operating as a learning laboratory for pilot studies to link research from WP2 and 3 to a real world iterative dialogue and decision process. WP1 frames, informs, and steers the research questions of WP2 and 3, and so centres all research on needs for responsible development pathways of city-region systems.
WP2 addresses the decision making space in cities; the political, economic, technical and social determinants of decision making, and seeks to understand the opportunities for better incorporation of climate information into local decision making contexts.
WP3, the majority effort, focuses on advancing understanding of the physical climate processes that govern the regional system, both as observed and simulated. This knowledge grounds the development of robust and scale relevant climate information, and the related analysis and communication. This is steered explicitly by WP1's perspective of urban climate change risk, resilience, impacts, and decisions for adaptation and development.
The project will frame a new paradigm for user-informed, knowledge-based decisions to develop pathways to resilience for the majority population. It will provide a step change in understanding the cross-scale climate processes that drive change and so enable enhanced uptake of climate information in near to medium-term decision making. The project legacy will include improved scientific capacity and collaboration, provide transferable knowledge to enhance decision making on the African continent, and in this make significant contribution to academic disciplines.

Planned Impact

FRACTAL aims to fundamentally alter how African cities include climate change in development planning, in a context with no direct historical precedent. This is critical given that the interests of the majority urban population place an inviolable demand (with substantial regional dependencies) on water, energy and associated infrastructure. FRACTAL recognizes that supply-driven climate information (e.g. IPCC) is having limited impact in real world decision making, largely due to messages of limited relevance or robustness at the scales and for the contexts of decision making.

We directly address this inadequacy through increased understanding of regional climate information and informed by co-exploration with decision makers. FRACTAL seek s to bring fundamental changes in key decision pathways (around water, flooding and energy) to increase the resilience of city-regions. This will leave a legacy of new knowledge, capacity and learning exemplars in 5 city-regions from which Africa can build. FRACTAL will provide an essential counterpart and balance in a landscape where the majority of climate development actions have non-urban, sectoral or rural foci.

There are four groups of beneficiaries:
a) Policy and decision-makers in government, resource management and infrastructure from local officials (case-study cities) to national-scale line Ministries which oversee urban development and the planning of infrastructure and regional services. These benefit through: co-generation of information and policy guidelines; new frameworks for incorporating climate change information in the context of multiple stressors and competing agendas; deep co-learning benefits led by researchers embedded in city governments; peer-to-peer relationships that lead to learning opportunities amongst the city partners; written materials generated by the project.
b) International and regional development institutions. The project will present research findings to guide development organizations and funders who are important contributors to development and adaptation trajectories. This will be strengthened by leveraging existing networks, such as the consortium's IPCC/WCRP/SASSCAL/Future Earth presence.
c) Academic disciplines and research communities in Africa and internationally. A publication strategy will place papers in disciplinary journals and the work will be disseminated at major conferences. Academics from under-capacitated African universities will benefit through the production of research, teaching tools and supporting publications. New inter-institutional relationships will foster the establishment of critical research capacity within the region to initiate key research agendas. Collaboration with the international community provides much needed reverse flows of knowledge, giving African researchers valuable entry to participate in research governance on the international scale (e.g. WCRP, IPCC, etc.).
d) Society. While largely an indirect process, this grouping has potential to receive the largest impact and benefit. By operating in the placed-based context of the majority of the population, FRACTAL can help steer development to enhance the quality of life and human security of large sections of society, as well as protect the economic system through both enabling opportunities and managing the very high risk of maladaptation with its attendant costs, damages, and inefficiencies. Informed city governance can lead to greater awareness and understanding in the voting population which can introduce major shifts in how nations choose to respond to climate change. Likewise, by changing the policy environment new opportunities for economic engagement are created.

Lastly, a significant cross-cutting impact is the building of trust relationships, dialogue and learning between and within these communities, which fosters growth potential as adaptation increasingly adopts a policy-first approach (versus a scienc
 
Description The focus of FRACTAL has been to understand what is required, and how, to build climate resilience in southern African cities in particular whilst generating research findings applicable to building climate resilience in general. This has involved understanding how to identify the burning issues in the cities and their supporting regions and how to facilitate this through engaging all relevant stakeholders allowing a subsequent understanding of where and how climate information can included in planning and implementation of policies to address these issues. Through the FRACTAL engagements and research: climate scientists have gained a deeper understanding of city decision processes and how their work does (or does not) fit in; decision-makers have also gained a deeper understanding of the nature of climate change information; community, local and regional government and institutional stakeholders have been better integrated into decision-making and silos between them broken down. The team has learned a lot about the transdisciplinary research processes required to facilitate such engagements resulting in a wide range of publications and tools related to urban complexity and governance, climate change planning in cities, urban resilience and transdisciplinarity in general. These have included journal articles, working papers, games, think pieces, conference contributions and short films.
Exploitation Route Learning from FRACTAL has been used in the design and implementation of other international development projects and collaborations being undertaken by the Met Office and its partners.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

 
Description They have contributed to understanding urban governance and developing plans related to addressing climate-related burning issues in cities in southern Africa (in particular Blantyre, Cape Town, Durban, Gaborone, Harare, Lusaka, Maputo and Windhoek). This has involved several or all of the following: - Institutional culture transformation - Enhanced capacity to use climate information - Improved decision making processes - Improved understanding of the urban decision context - Generating climate information for use by decision makers - Increased understanding of regional climate process and process change In addition, findings and approaches developed in FRACTAL have been applied in other international development projects in other African and world regions by the Met Office.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description 1. Joint intent with Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) 
Organisation Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company Limited
Country Zambia 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Sharing and integrating knowledge on climate and governance relevant to Lusaka and its surrounding region relevant to water security.
Collaborator Contribution Sharing and integrating knowledge on water security issues in Lusaka, on communities impacted and stakeholders relevant to addressing these issues.
Impact LuWSI involvement in FRACTAL in Lusaka has assisted the development of governance research, policy briefs, relevant climate and water resource research as part of the trans-disciplinary team of decision-makers, practitioners, community groups and academics working as part of or with FRACTAL in Lusaka.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with UMFULA on understanding southern African climate processes and changes 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department School of Geography and the Environment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Advice and supervision of researchers engaged in assessing southern African climate processes and changes as observed and simulated in climate models.
Collaborator Contribution Research into southern African climate processes and changes as observed and simulated in climate models.
Impact None
Start Year 2015
 
Description African Climate Risk Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An African-wide conference held in Addis Ababa where a range of FRACTAL findings from development and application of climate risk narratives to latest research on extreme rainfall in Lusaka were presented to a broad audiance of scientists, climate-resilience professionals, students and other attendees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description FCFA side event at CoP21 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact To showcase the potential of FCFA projects to demonstrate how better climate science, information and services can inform development decision-making in Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description FCFA side event at CoP22, November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact To showcase the potential of FCFA projects to demonstrate how better climate science, information and services can inform development decision-making in Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description FRACTAL Urban Caucus 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A caucus held in Lusaka to bring together all FRACTAL partners, partner cities, relevant collaborating institutions, organisations and local Lusaka community and youth groups to share experiences of and provide updates on FRACTAL-related activities and outputs with and to government and institutional officials in FRACTAL partner cities/regions/countries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description FRACTAL virtual learning retreat 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Reflecting on learning and achievements within FRACTAL and planning activities in the FRACTAL extension phase on streamlining, consolidating and monitoring and learning from FRACTAL processes and research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description First FRACTAL City Learning Lab, Lusaka September 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact To identify burning issue(s) in the city of Lusaka and its supporting region which city officials and FRACTAL partners could work together on to improve lives and livelihoods of Lusaka residents given the climate they will be experiencing over the coming few decades.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Fourth FRACTAL annual meeting, February 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The nine FRACTAL cities shared information on FRACTAL-related city impacts and key learnings from the project.
Key climate science findings were disseminated to project partners.
The new theoretical developments of distillation, receptivity and conceptual developments related to transdisciplinary co-production were presented and the connections between them were explored. Plans for finalising documentation of these developments were also discussed.
Plans were also made for a FRACTAL outward facing event, the Urban Climate Caucus, as well as input into the African Climate Risks conference planned for October.
Finally, there were focused discussions on ideas for building on the research and applications and networks developed within FRACTAL and how these elements could have broader impact on policy and practice and feeding into the IPCC AR6.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Inception meeting with other project partners and city stakeholders 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussions, interactions, workplanning to improve the understanding and collaboration between all FRACTAL partners and generate workplans, identify research questions and design project structures.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Lusaka learning lab 2, July 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact To continue dialogue between Lusaka city partners and local and international FRACTAL researchers on climate risks in the city/region, relevant climate information and entry points for this information to inform policy and planning supporting climate resilience in Lusaka with a focus on those living in per-urban settlements.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Lusaka learning lab 3, November 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact To continue dialogue between Lusaka city partners and local and international FRACTAL researchers on climate risks in the city/region, relevant climate information and entry points for this information to inform policy and planning supporting climate resilience in Lusaka with a focus on those living in per-urban settlements.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Lusaka learning lab 4, April 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact To continue dialogue between Lusaka city partners and local and international FRACTAL researchers on climate risks in the city/region, relevant climate information and entry points for this information to inform policy and planning supporting climate resilience in Lusaka with a focus on those living in per-urban settlements.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Lusaka learning lab 5, November 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussions and interactions to finalise policy briefs relevant to water issues in Lusaka with a focus on people living in informal settlements and dissemination channels for these to relevant local and national institutions, councils and ministries. Continuing collaboration between all FRACTAL collaborators and relevant city and institutional partners to develop ideas for engagement with plans for investing in improved water security.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Second FRACTAL City Learning Lab, Maputo, March 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact To identify burning issue(s) in the city of Maputo and its supporting region which city officials and FRACTAL partners could work together on to improve lives and livelihoods of Maputo residents given the climate they will be experiencing over the coming few decades.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Second FRACTAL annual meeting, November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Discussions, interactions, workplanning to improve the understanding and collaboration between all FRACTAL partners and generate workplans, identify research questions and design project structures.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.fractal.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/FRACTAL_Annual-meeting-report_25112016.compress...
 
Description Third FRACTAL City Learning Lab, Windhoek, March 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact To identify burning issue(s) in the city of Windhoek and its supporting region which city officials and FRACTAL partners could work together on to improve lives and livelihoods of Windhoek residents given the climate they will be experiencing over the coming few decades.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Third FRACTAL annual meeting, November 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Discussions, interactions, workplanning to improve the understanding and collaboration between all FRACTAL partners and generate workplans, identify research questions and design project structures.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.fractal.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/FRACTAL_Annual-meeting-report_0122018.compresse...
 
Description Windhoek learning lab 2, November 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact To continue dialogue between Windhoek city partners and local and international FRACTAL researchers on climate risks in the city/region, relevant climate information and entry points for this information to inform policy and planning supporting climate resilience in Windhoek with a focus on water supply.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Windhoek learning lab 4, December 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact To continue dialogue between Windhoek city partners and local and international FRACTAL researchers on climate risks in the city/region, relevant to developing a climate change strategy and action plan for the city.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018