Future Resilience for African CiTies And Lands (FRACTAL)

Lead Research Organisation: SEI Oxford Office Ltd
Department Name: Research

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 seeks 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 developme nt 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 science- scenario-first approach).
 
Description Significant new knowledge has been generated in a review of both "process" and "support" based decision methods to incorporate climate information in decision-making. Improved skills have been developed in facilitating stakeholder engagements through Learning Lab processes and this has opened up important new research questions both from an academic and from a city perspective. Capacity development has regularly been noted as a need by various cities, although we have discovered there is a lack of clarity regarding which and whose needs are most pressing and therefore how capacity building actions can be best tailored to support city institutions and stakeholders in their decision-making. This has led us to consider how we can better support the project cities in assessing (and developing) their capacity needs.
Exploitation Route Our research findings will be taken forward through both traditional academic routes (such as peer-reviewed journal articles) as well as through practice based channels such as documentation in grey literature, using video, blogs, photostories, online platforms, etc. Having identified that there is a lack of clarity over precise institutional and individual capacity needs, we propose to run an initial pilot project in two cities (Lusaka and Windhoek) to assess institutional capacity needs using the CaDD (Climate Capacity Diagnosis and Development) approach. We intend to hold participatory workshops with city stakeholders using this approach to open conversations on how and where capacity development interventions may be most fruitful in supporting the use of climate information in adaptation decision-making.
Inspirational examples of adaptation initiatives and projects in African urban environments particularly responding to climate hazards have been collated in a Working Paper - 'Inspiring climate action in African cities: practical options for resilient pathways. Ruth Butterfield et al. FRACTAL Working Paper #7, January 2018' (see Publications). The cases identified are being used to develop one stream of accessible training modules delivered through bite-sized Whatsapp or SMS introductions for a broad group of people directly or indirectly involved in the FRACTAL project, including all partners, city and local government officials etc and all cities. The aim of the training modules is to communicate and build capacity in aspects of city decision-making with respect to climate change.
Selected cases will also be used as a learning opportunity in a session of the Transformational Leadership on Climate Change course to be held in Windhoek in April 2018.
Sectors Environment

 
Description SEI initiative on Climate Services
Amount 5,000,000 kr (SEK)
Organisation Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency 
Sector Public
Country Global
Start 06/2016 
End 05/2018
 
Description Project: Bridging climate information gaps to strengthen capacities for climate informed decision-making in Africa - Climate For Development in Africa ClimDev Special Fund (CDSF) 
Organisation AGRHYMET Regional Centre (ARC)
Country Global 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The overall objective of this project is to reduce vulnerability and foster a food-secure world through the strengthening of African countries' capacities to understand and deploy appropriate climate information and best practices to inform decision-making and support development programs and planning. The project involves three components, namely: i) climate information generation, ii) capacity enhancement and climate information dissemination, iii) implementation of pilot adaptation practice and toolkit. This project will be led by the SEI Africa Centre and SEI Oxford will have substantive roles as the work is core to Oxford's research and in addition is complementary with the FRACTAL project on climate services in southern Africa. SEI Oxford will be contributing to Task 3.1 on 'Using climate information to support adaptation planning and policymaking' and Task 3.2 on the 'Formulation of a robust toolkit'.
Collaborator Contribution We made significant contributions to the development of the proposal.
Impact The project will started in 2017 and will complement FRACTAL, but no outputs to report yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Project: Bridging climate information gaps to strengthen capacities for climate informed decision-making in Africa - Climate For Development in Africa ClimDev Special Fund (CDSF) 
Organisation African Technology Policy Studies Network
Country Kenya 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The overall objective of this project is to reduce vulnerability and foster a food-secure world through the strengthening of African countries' capacities to understand and deploy appropriate climate information and best practices to inform decision-making and support development programs and planning. The project involves three components, namely: i) climate information generation, ii) capacity enhancement and climate information dissemination, iii) implementation of pilot adaptation practice and toolkit. This project will be led by the SEI Africa Centre and SEI Oxford will have substantive roles as the work is core to Oxford's research and in addition is complementary with the FRACTAL project on climate services in southern Africa. SEI Oxford will be contributing to Task 3.1 on 'Using climate information to support adaptation planning and policymaking' and Task 3.2 on the 'Formulation of a robust toolkit'.
Collaborator Contribution We made significant contributions to the development of the proposal.
Impact The project will started in 2017 and will complement FRACTAL, but no outputs to report yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Project: Bridging climate information gaps to strengthen capacities for climate informed decision-making in Africa - Climate For Development in Africa ClimDev Special Fund (CDSF) 
Organisation ICPAC
Country Kenya 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The overall objective of this project is to reduce vulnerability and foster a food-secure world through the strengthening of African countries' capacities to understand and deploy appropriate climate information and best practices to inform decision-making and support development programs and planning. The project involves three components, namely: i) climate information generation, ii) capacity enhancement and climate information dissemination, iii) implementation of pilot adaptation practice and toolkit. This project will be led by the SEI Africa Centre and SEI Oxford will have substantive roles as the work is core to Oxford's research and in addition is complementary with the FRACTAL project on climate services in southern Africa. SEI Oxford will be contributing to Task 3.1 on 'Using climate information to support adaptation planning and policymaking' and Task 3.2 on the 'Formulation of a robust toolkit'.
Collaborator Contribution We made significant contributions to the development of the proposal.
Impact The project will started in 2017 and will complement FRACTAL, but no outputs to report yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Project: Bridging climate information gaps to strengthen capacities for climate informed decision-making in Africa - Climate For Development in Africa ClimDev Special Fund (CDSF) 
Organisation Regional Centre For Mapping Resource For Development
Department RCMRD
Country Kenya 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The overall objective of this project is to reduce vulnerability and foster a food-secure world through the strengthening of African countries' capacities to understand and deploy appropriate climate information and best practices to inform decision-making and support development programs and planning. The project involves three components, namely: i) climate information generation, ii) capacity enhancement and climate information dissemination, iii) implementation of pilot adaptation practice and toolkit. This project will be led by the SEI Africa Centre and SEI Oxford will have substantive roles as the work is core to Oxford's research and in addition is complementary with the FRACTAL project on climate services in southern Africa. SEI Oxford will be contributing to Task 3.1 on 'Using climate information to support adaptation planning and policymaking' and Task 3.2 on the 'Formulation of a robust toolkit'.
Collaborator Contribution We made significant contributions to the development of the proposal.
Impact The project will started in 2017 and will complement FRACTAL, but no outputs to report yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Project: Bridging climate information gaps to strengthen capacities for climate informed decision-making in Africa - Climate For Development in Africa ClimDev Special Fund (CDSF) 
Organisation Sahara and Sahel Observatory
Country Tunisia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The overall objective of this project is to reduce vulnerability and foster a food-secure world through the strengthening of African countries' capacities to understand and deploy appropriate climate information and best practices to inform decision-making and support development programs and planning. The project involves three components, namely: i) climate information generation, ii) capacity enhancement and climate information dissemination, iii) implementation of pilot adaptation practice and toolkit. This project will be led by the SEI Africa Centre and SEI Oxford will have substantive roles as the work is core to Oxford's research and in addition is complementary with the FRACTAL project on climate services in southern Africa. SEI Oxford will be contributing to Task 3.1 on 'Using climate information to support adaptation planning and policymaking' and Task 3.2 on the 'Formulation of a robust toolkit'.
Collaborator Contribution We made significant contributions to the development of the proposal.
Impact The project will started in 2017 and will complement FRACTAL, but no outputs to report yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description University of Oxford Internship Programmes 
Organisation University of Oxford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SEI Oxford has an ongoing collaboration with the University of Oxford regarding internships. This has resulted in several that have directly benefited the FRACTAL project.
Collaborator Contribution One intern contributed to the writing of the Adaptation Inspiration Book (publications). Another intern has supported the creation of case studies from the Adaptation Inspiration Book (publications) on weADAPT.org in preparation for training and capacity building activities that will take place in the cities.
Impact Working paper and online contributions.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Work-Based Placement for an Edinburgh University student 
Organisation University of Melbourne
Department School of Social and Political Sciences
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We submitted a call for Masters students from the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh to work with us on FRACTAL-related research and accepted a student whom we hosted at SEI Oxford from May-July 2016. FRACTAL research questions on urban governance and decision-making were explored to form the content of the students Masters dissertation. The method used was discourse analysis and a policy brief summarising the results from the thesis is in publication.
Collaborator Contribution This was our second year collaborating on a work-based placement with the University of Edinburgh and we have found it to be successful from the perspective of the student, the University and SEI projects, such as FRACTAL.
Impact Dissertation on discourse analysis of key climate and development policy documents from Lusaka, Zambia was submitted in August 2016. A policy brief is being produced based on key findings from the dissertation.
Start Year 2016
 
Description 1st Maputo Learning Lab 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The first Maputo Learning Lab was held 06-07 March 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence in Maputo. The meeting was attended by approximately 30 representatives from government entities, foreign and international NGOs, scientific entities, civil society, among others. Environmental problems caused by climate change and variability in the municipality were presented and the possible solutions thereof discussed as well as existing projects and programmes. Discussions within and among groups formed in the workshop have identified, in order of priority, (i) Drinking water supply; (ii) Drainage and sanitation; and (iii) Shortage of drinking water (infrastructure, policies, governance and planning) as the most important challenges of the Municipality.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.fractal.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Maputo_LL-Report_May-2017.compressed.pdf
 
Description 2nd Windhoek Learning Lab 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The second Windhoek City learning lab in October 2017 brought together stakeholders from various departments in the City of WIndhoek as well as representatives from other national and city representatives.. Participation in this Learning Lab opened conversations with city stakeholders about how FRACTAL could support in the development process of the Windhoek Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan. This entry point is a key opportunity for SEI to engage in decision support activity with the City of WIndhoek, as the timelines fit well with the project. The request for a 'Transformational Leadership on Climate Change' workshop also emerged from the Learning Lab. SEI has been actively involved in the development of this workshop (due to occur in April 2018) and will include a session on inspiring adaptation cases (see Publications: Ruth Butterfield et al. FRACTAL Working Paper #7, January 2018).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description 3rd Lusaka Learning Lab 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The third Lusaka learning lab took place in November 2017. The learning lab was attended by a team from the FRACTAL project, led by the University of Cape Town (UCT) in partnership with the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Lusaka City Council (LCC) and various stakeholders drawn from the water sector in Lusaka. It resulted in the co-development of four policy briefs that were started by city-based thematic groups created to identify knowledge gaps in the 2nd learning lab.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description CKB-SEI-CTCN hosted 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 SEI-CKB-CTCN hosted a side-event on Decision-making for a Climate-Resilient Future: Creating a 'Climate Knowledge Grid' which highlighted some of the approaches planned in FRACTAL e.g. co-exploration and knowledge brokering. This has now led to our involvement in a CDKN - Climate Knowledge Brokers (CKB) capacity building initiative in Africa which will generate good synergies with FRACTAL capacity building efforts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description COP22 Climate Services panel: Building good climate services for adaptation: Insights from developed and developing countries, 16 November 2016, Marrakesh 
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 Hosted and participated in a COP22 expert panel on Climate Services, entitled "Building good climate services for adaptation: Insights from developed and developing countries" on 16 November 2016 in Marrakesh. Panelists included Richard Jones (Science Fellow at the UK Met Office), Katiuscia Fara (Advisor Climate Services, Climate & Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes Division, World Food Programme), Graham Clarkson (Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Reading), Amy Barthorpe (Head of business, WeFarm), Xolisa Ngwadla (CSIR, South Africa COP22 delegation member and national level user of climate services) and Sukaina Bharwani (co-lead of the SEI Initiative on Climate Services). The panel discussion was facilitated by Aaron Atteridge (Research Fellow, SEI-Stockholm). Lesson learned from the panel are useful for Fractal and experiences from Fractal will be shared with these partners going forward for guidance.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.sei-international.org/blog-articles/3601
 
Description Climate Knowledge Brokers annual meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact CKB 101 Training Module presented on "Why Knowledge Brokering is Important for Climate and Development" at 2016 Climate Knowledge Brokers Workshop, 20 September, 2016. Relevance to Fractal and experiences shared.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.sei-international.org/climate-services/news-and-opinion/3570-learning-to-be-a-bridge-a-c...
 
Description FCFA UK Inception workshop 
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 This was the inception meeting for FCFA in London, attended by representatives from all funded consortia. It was an opportunity to learn about the plans of the other teams and look for synergies and any learning opportunities. In addition it was a chance to understand the role of the CCKE unit and how we can work together.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description FRACTAL UK inception meeting (Oxford) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Following on from the FCFA inception meeting in London, the FRACTAL consortium took the opportunity to have a project-planning meeting at the SEI centre in Oxford. This allowed us to further reflect on our Theory of Change and planned research questions with a view to creating a more detailed workplan.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Fifth International Conference on Climate Services 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact SEI co-sponsored the Fifth International Conference on Climate Services (ICCS5) and presented research methodologies and lessons learned related to Fractal research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.climate-services.org/iccs/iccs5/
 
Description Taxonomy Bootcamp, 18-19 October, 2016, London Olympia, UK. Sukaina Bharwani presented with Semantic Web Company 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Taxonomy Bootcamp, 18-19 October, 2016, London Olympia, UK. Presented methodology for visualization work that is potentially useful for Fractal.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.taxonomybootcamp.com/London/2016/