Developing Effective Climate Change Policy Communication Strategies for SDG 13 Progress in Africa Authors: Institution:
Wilson Truman Okaka and Irene Judith Nagasha Kyambogo
Faculty of Education, P.O.Box 1, Kyambogo, , Uganda
Abstract Some of the most critical climate change adaptation and resilience issues is the felt need for the current information, technology, policy, gender, funding, partnerships, coordination, research, and knowledge gaps to be plugged and dissemination of information to be refined for climate change policy to achieve SDG 13 progress in Africa. It is imperative for the African Union to develop an effective regional climate change adaptation policy advocacy campaigns on the hazards of climate change disasters. Africa will achieve sustainable development by ICT driven capacity building, policy innovations, collaborative research, international cooperation, gender equality, and financial support. The objectives are to: assess the effectiveness of the national climate change adaptation awareness policy communication; establish the information communication media used in climate change advocacy campaigns in Uganda; identify the challenges of developing an effective communication strategy for the timely implementation of the national action plan for climate change adaptation, and explain the effectiveness of public communication campaigns evaluation of all public communication campaigns projects using previous recommended lessons learned. This review was conducted sourcing government documents, current literature, and news bulletins. In a review conducted, we collated published evidence on the use of effectiveness of behaviour change communication campaigns for enhancing innovations in climate change awareness, SDGs, social responsibility of the press (media) vulnerability, resilience, and mitigations. Information was also provided through email communications with key informants. The document search was performed through online search engines. In the past decade, Uganda has fashioned its action plans to enhance the role of public communication strategy for climate change awareness, knowledge, and behaviour change. These include communicating climate change adaptation, mitigations, and financing issues. Climate change has exacted a deathblow on agriculture, food and water security, human and animal health, biodiversity, land use, and environmental degradation in Africa. As a result, it emerged awareness is too low, quite shallow, and unmatched by desired behaviour change. There are conflicting messages, policies, practices, and laws in Uganda. These are confusing and detrimental to community awareness, education, and actions. A unilateral project implementation devoid of community participation in the design and delivery of messages will ruin awareness campaign efforts. It enhances information and knowledge gaps, lack of public trust, unsustainability, disempowerment, and community apathy. Most of the adaptation weaknesses, failures, illiteracy, and vulnerabilities to the adverse impacts of climate change could be attributed to huge information and knowledge gaps, lack of research and adoption of adaptation innovations (new technologies, ideas, practices) by communities, institutions, industries, and governments. Both the mass media and interpersonal communication advocacy would suffice for maximum message reach. Effective climate policy communication should be coordinated to achieve a faster rate of adoption and widespread diffusion of innovations, empowerment, funding, technology transfer, best practices, lessons learned, and networking. Climate information is vital for community adaptation.
Keywords Africa, SDG 13, climate change, communication, adaptation, resilience, gender, policy. 2
Developing Effective Climate Change Policy Communication Strategies for SDG 13 Progress in Africa
Introduction Innovative science and engineering information diffusion to enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation policy infrastructure in Africa is critical for climate change resilience. Awareness levels on the benefits of science, technology, and engineering innovations among the African communities are quite wanting indeed. The low levels of awareness among citizens on climate change adaptation and mitigation issues and options is a huge setback to policy implementation. For example, many surveys have established low public awareness among Ugandans on the opportunities and benefits of EAC integration, MDGs, besides the EAC climate change policy (Eyotaru, 2013). Uganda has determined that climate change is manifested in extreme climatic events such as drought, high temperatures, heavy rains, hail storms, floods, and landslides. The sub-regional body has formulated a framework for planning effective national and regional climate change policy. The policy communication responses be crafted to reflect the following background: climate change risks and disasters have continued to exact severe incidents of social, economic, environmental, political, and legal challenges at local, national, regional, and global levels; climate change disaster risks impacts are more severe in the sub-region and across Africa; African continent is one of the most vulnerable global spheres to the adverse impacts of climate change disaster risks; economies of the EAC states are largely dependent on climatic and natural environmental resources. Others are: pervasive mass poverty, low awareness of adaption strategy; cancerous state corruption, rain-fed agricultural regime dominated by peasantry, high vulnerability to climate change disaster risks; low awareness and access to information, and low research on climate change disaster risks. In addition, increasing frequencies of natural disasters like droughts, floods, and landslides are among the top climate change risks in the region (GoT, 2006, 2012). Others are: sea level rise which also leads to infrastructure destruction along the coasts, submerging Indian Ocean small islands, salt water intrusion, contamination of fresh water wells along the coasts in Tanzania, beach erosions in Mombasa, Kenya, rampant floods, and droughts.
Methods In this review, we collated published evidence on climate change policy communication to enhance capacity building for national and sub-regional vulnerability, adaptation, and mitigation innovations to climate change using relevant search terms. Information was accessed using internet search engines and libraries. All documents that were obtained during the review process were used to broaden the search for primary information sources. Initially additional information was sought from the databases of national, regional, and international agencies. In the searches, we looked for documents referring climate change policy and awareness communication strategy. Climate change policy diffusion and widespread adoption of innovations in science and technologies for community adaptation and mitigations. First, retrieved documents were scrutinized for relevance and then carefully examined for evidence. The information was then consolidated and summarized to chart the way forward using the available infrastructures or facilities in different social, economic, environmental, legal, and policy applications. 3
Finally, the information was consolidated and summarized to chart the way forward using the available infrastructures or facilities in different economic sectors. The reviewer was biased in favour of published literature accessible via internet searches, and relied on English language documents only. In summary, the study looked for documents referring to climate change policy and communication framework in the East African sub-region.
Results and Discussion Public awareness information communication services The objectives of climate change communication approaches are to assess the effectiveness of the regional climate change adaptation and mitigation policy awareness communication; establish the information communication channels employed and message reach (audience exposure); audience participation in message design; identify the challenges of developing an effective communication strategy for the timely implementation of the national action plan for climate change adaptation, and explain the effectiveness of public communication campaign evaluation. For example, communicating climate policy can use different communication approaches with a focus on: blowing away the myths, a new way of thinking, linking policy and communication, audience principles, style principles, and effective management. The following methods are recommended: Target audiences Branding and key Messages Public relations Seasonality Using different channels Television and radio Printed media Electronic media Help lines stakeholder engagement Direct engagement Advertising Community outreaches Field demonstration centres Social media (social networking) Citizen and community journalism Volunteer youth groups
Addressing climate change loss and damage impacts The recent and current efforts to contain and reverse the adverse effects of climate change disaster risks taken by the EAC sub-regional countries are still a work in progress. For example, Uganda has launched a national climate change policy development process following the national stakeholders’ climate change conference (MWE, 2012). In addition, in the last few decades, Uganda has experienced an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events with serious socio-economic consequences (GoU, 2010). With rampant poverty, weak institutional capacity, lack of skills on climate change adaptation and mitigation, inadequate skills in disaster management, lack of technology, inadequate funds, and an economic dependence on natural resources; Ugandans are already vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change. Poor climate conditions will 4
continue to wipe the agricultural outputs, leading to higher food prices, dwindling national come, and worsening export trade. Over 98% are unaware of both energy efficiency technologies and clean alternative energy sources. Lack of awareness of climate change issues requires a communication strategy on global environmental conventions on climate change (GoU, 2010).
Assessing barriers to climate change policy information services The key issues related to climate change include: inadequate disaster risk management as a result of impacts made worse by climate change; Uganda’s position in international climate change negotiations is not strong enough to represent and effectively articulate and influence the global negotiations the interests of Uganda; water supply endangered in quality and quantity because of climate change; and inadequate mainstreaming of climate in other important sectors such as communication, energy, food security, and agriculture. Some of the most common major obstacles to the intended enabling environment include: Conflicting sectoral policies and legal instruments Conflicting interests of involved entities Media are less interested in covering climate change policy issues Climate change is given low priority by policy and insufficient allocation of resources Poor public information and transparency Awareness of climate change issues low or biased Cooperative sharing of critical responsibilities and mainstreaming are still very weak in terms of capacity.
Enhancing access to climate change information services In a move to guide its climate change adaptation actions, Uganda’s national adaptation programme of action (NAPA) was developed in 2007. Currently, the national development plan considers climate change as a framework to support performance of other sectors, with the following four main objectives intended to: develop national capacity to coordinate and implement climate change adaptation and mitigation activities in the country in support of social welfare and national development; ensure climate proof development planning; promote low carbon economic development; and meet Uganda's obligations to implement UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol (KP). The focal institution for climate change activities in Uganda is the CCU. It is being upgraded to the status of a department (MWE, 2013). The CCU has now made these main achievements by 2012: NAPA pilot projects in three different ecological regions were launched in 2012. Draft climate change mainstreaming guides were produced for all sectors to enable them to integrate climate change policy into their investment development and budgets. Public awareness campaign was conducted in some 10 districts in Eastern Uganda. This was the continuation of the previous similar awareness campaigns done in the central, western, northern, North- western and far eastern regions of the country. Integration of climate change in the national education curriculum was undertaken in partnership with the national curriculum development centre for Uganda. Research on gender and climate change was undertaken by CCU in collaboration with Makerere University, resulting in a report and a documentary on gender and climate change ready for publication and distribution, targeting 1,500 stakeholders. Developed a draft nationally appropriate mitigation action (NAMA) framework, yet to be validated by stakeholders before submission to the UNFCCC secretariat. 5
Launched and commenced implementation of a CDC capacity development project. . Registered 12 CDM projects. Uganda is ranked as Africa’s third best in CDM performance.
Prospects of developing better climate information services At the moment, Rwandan climate change NAPA is being implemented amidst huge barriers. The main challenges to the national policy framework for mitigation and adaptation policy actions are: insufficient knowledge and research, limited integration of adaptation measures in ongoing institutional efforts, absence of knowledge and skills sharing; and information dissemination, weak intersectoral and multi-stakeholder coordination and collaboration; and lack of climate change resilient planning, budgeting, and policy infrastructure. The government of Rwanda in collaboration with UNDP launched a national project titled: Supporting integrated and comprehensive approaches to climate change adaptation in Africa- building. As a result, the country has embarked on the individual, community, institutional, and national capacity building process to address climate change risks and opportunities through a national project approach to adaptation and mitigation framework. The following project outputs are expected from the planned project: Sustainable management of environment, natural resources, and land use; Enabling policy for effective environmental management (ecosystem-established); Economic productivity enhanced with environmental and natural resources; Capacity at national, district, and community levels restored and protected vital ecosystems; Climate resilient policies and measures; Financial options for national adaptation costs expanded at local, national, sub-regional, and regional levels; and It is established that the impact of climate change disaster risks have continued to be quite dire in the East African Community (EAC) social, economic, political, environmental, and natural resources.
Challenges of climate information services in Rwanda Rwandan government has embarked on an aggressive climate change NAPA amidst a wide range of barriers to the planned implementation of the proposed policy framework. The obstacles include: insufficient knowledge and research; limited integration of adaptation measures in ongoing institutional efforts, absence of knowledge sharing and information dissemination, weak intersectoral and multi-stakeholder coordination and collaboration, and lack of climate change resilient planning, budgeting, and policy setting. Rwanda and UNDP have launched a national climate change project called: supporting integrated and comprehensive approaches to climate change adaptation in Africa: Building a comprehensive national approach in Rwanda. The major objective of the project is to develop the institutional, individual, and systemic capacity to address climate change risks and opportunities through a national approach to adaptation. The following project outcomes and impacts are envisaged: sustainable management of environment, natural resources, and land use; enabling policy framework to support effective environmental management and ecosystem-established; economic enhancement using natural resources in an environmentally friendly way; capacity at national, district, and community levels to restore and protect vital ecosystems against
degradation; climate resilient policies and measures; and financial options for national adaptation costs expanded at local, national, sub-regional, and regional levels.
Outreach information communication approaches In addition, the general political EAC integration has been hindered by information gaps, according to the Ugandan government. Climate change threat is already manifested in Uganda. The consequences of ignoring a coordinated and coherent action are severe. The following issues were identified among the important areas: inadequate climate change communication is acting as a barrier to successfully responding to climate change in Uganda, there is lack of coordination in communicating climate change policy information in Uganda, several governmental and non-governmental bodies could act as a central hub for climate change information, public engagement, poor funding (low budget), and low public profile, and the most urgent priority for effective communication of climate change in Uganda is the development of a central coordinating body that can engage with all sectors of society. Uganda has already identified several issues for its national action plan for climate change strategy. Traditional coping strategies to climate change risks were discussed during the participatory rapid appraisal (PRA) with local communities. Data were collected and analyzed. The list below shows the ranking of identified intervention areas (MWE, 2012) in the outreached communities who participated in the study: Indigenous knowledge awareness creation; Farm forestry; Water resources; Weather and climate information; Policy, legislation and planning; Land and soil management; Disaster preparedness; Alternative livelihoods; Health; and Infrastructure. The East African media is not yet fully engaged in covering climate change science, technology, and engineering innovation research issues. Training programs to assist both journalists and editors are essential, but civil society organizations must also improve the way they engage with the media, packaging information in a clear and simple way and actively attracting media attention. Local languages lack terms for many key concepts involved in climate change –including ‘climate change’ itself. Communicators should attempt to explain climate change using terms that already exist, using graphic examples of local environmental problems and innovative communication methods to get the message across. Raising awareness of climate change is critical. Local and national politicians are ill informed about climate change although environmental services are decentralized under local governments. Needless to say, awareness campaigns should focus on local politicians to act on climate change. In Uganda, the members of parliament (MPs) have now formed a special parliamentary committee on climate change adaptation and mitigation public awareness communication campaigns. Over 20 million Ugandans (68.5%) are classified as food insecure. The major cause of food insecurity in Uganda is climate change manifested in form of extreme weather conditions like: drought; shortage of water and pasture, crop failure, famine, increased food prices, food emergencies, inter district migrations, economic loss of income, high 7
temperatures; lead to escalating vectors (pests and diseases), crop wilting, poor yields, heavy rainfall; crop destruction, soil erosion and leaching, contamination of water sources, livestock and crop diseases, flooding; leads to increased crop, livestock, and human diseases; loss of lives and livestock; destruction of crops and infrastructure, post harvest losses, water pollution (GoU, 2010).
Promoting accessible climate information dissemination The East African Community sub-region is vulnerable to impacts of climate change, affecting key economic drivers like water, agriculture, energy, transport, health, forestry, wildlife, land use, infrastructure, and disaster risk management among others (EAC, 2011). The impacts include water stress and scarcity food insecurity diminished hydropower generation potential; loss of biodiversity and ecosystem degradation; increased incidence of disease burden; destruction of infrastructure; high costs of disaster management as result of increased frequency and intensity of droughts, floods, and landslides associated with the El Niño phenomenon. The process of developing the East African climate change policy was initiated. The summit directed the development of a regional climate change policy and strategies to urgently respond to the adverse impact of climate change, including addressing the challenge of food insecurity as a result of climate change. In addition, the development of the policy is in fulfilment of the objectives of the EAC; to develop policies and programmes aimed at widening and deepening cooperation among Partner States in accordance with the 1999 Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC. The policy process was guided by the emerging issues and potential opportunities. The Policy was developed in a participatory approach by experts from the five East African Community member states of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. Information service delivery for adaptation and mitigation options The East African climate change policy elements are grounded on three key pillars: adaptation, mitigation and climate change research. The pillars need capacity building; technology development and transfer; finance; education, training, and public awareness based on information and knowledge management. Gender issues are well integrated into sub-regional policy. Key climate change adaptation priorities will include strengthening meteorological services and improving early warning systems; disaster risk management; risk reduction, preparedness, mitigation and reconstruction; scaling up of efficient use of water and energy; irrigation; crop and livestock production, protecting fragile ecosystems like wetlands, coasts, marine, forestry; land use, soil; tourism; infrastructure; and reducing climate infections, illnesses, and diseases. Mitigation measures include afforestation, reforestation, promoting energy efficiency, efficient crop and livestock production systems, efficient transport systems, waste management, and renewable energy. The East African climate change policy aims to create, develop, and sustain adaptation and mitigation capacity at all levels. Adaptive capacity refers to the potential or capability of a system to adjust to climate change, including climate variability and extremes, so as to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with consequences (Smit, & Pilifosova, 2001). As the name suggests, adaptive capacity is the capability of a system to adjust to impacts of climate change. The following factors determine climate change impacts adaptive capacity: wealth, science, technology, education, institutions, information, infrastructure, and social capital. Given the actual and potential adverse effects of climate change it is vital to identify relevant adaptation options including capacity building, policy reform, integration into 8
sectoral policies and project-level activities. A set of locally-driven criteria determined the selection of priority adaptation activities. They include (UNFCCC, 2002): level of adverse effects of climate change; poverty reduction to enhance adaptive capacity; synergy with other multilateral environmental agreements; and cost-effectiveness. The criteria identified priorities are: Loss of life and livelihood; Human health; Food security and agriculture; Water availability, quality and accessibility; Essential infrastructure; Cultural heritage; Biological diversity; Land-use management and forestry; Other environmental amenities; Coastal zones, and associated loss of fragile environmental and natural resources.
Issues and options in developing national adaptation plan of action The policy strategy considers national development policies, strategies, and plans are: environment, water, land, forestry, energy, transport, agriculture, livestock, fishery, health, and gender. Tanzania and the rest of the EAC states of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya have developed national adaptation program of actions (NAPAs), which are in various stages of implementation. The NAPAs identified urgent and priority projects that are needed to enhance adaptation capacities to the adverse impacts of climate change. Kenya, on the other hand, has already prepared a national climate change response strategy which spells out the priority areas for adaptation and mitigation activities. The states are expected to prepare national communications on the status of implementing of the UNFCCC activities. Climate change mitigation potential in the region can be achieved particularly through the energy sector by harnessing geothermal power along the East African rift valley, wind energy, hydropower, solar energy and natural gas; waste management like methane recovery, cogeneration by industrial and agricultural sectors. The EAC treaty (EAC, 1999) calls for co-operation in the management of the environment, disaster preparedness and management, protection and mitigation measures especially for the control of natural and man-made disasters. The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system within a timeframe sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure food security and sustainable development (UNFCCC, 2005).
An over view of key EAC climate change policy elements The aim of the policy is to coordinate climate change regional strategies, programmers, and actions. The objectives are to: establish an effective framework to guide the practical harmonization, coordination and implementation of climate change initiatives amongst member states; identify priority adaptation and mitigation action areas and roles of the states and other stakeholders to address climate change in the region; promote public awareness of the social and economic importance of climate change, including vulnerability, impacts, risks, and response measures in the region; promote capacity building efforts through, inter alia education, training, research, technology development and transfer.
Other policy elements are: information and knowledge management; promote climate change research and observations through monitoring, detection, attribution and model prediction to enhance climate change preparedness; support the integration of climate change into regional development processes and planning including disaster risk management and gender equality; and facilitate resource mobilization to implement national and the EAC climate change policy strategy as well as the sub-regional master plan. There are daunting challenges facing national and regional mitigation actions and strategies. Despite the east African countries to get finance, technology, and capacity to support mitigation in the LDCs under the Kyoto Protocol, these challenges still exist: Lack of financial resources to mitigate actions identified in the NAPAs Weak science and engineering research capacity; Weak policy infrastructure and research dissemination initiatives; Appropriate mitigation actions; Inadequate technical capacities to develop climate change mitigation project activities; Bureaucracy and costs of CDM project development; Accessible database for project management, monitoring, and evaluation; and Weak institutional capacities and lack of legal and regulatory frameworks for CDMs. The implementation of the policy mandates the EAC secretariat and each member state to undertake the following: various implementation instruments should be developed to implement the policy. These include an elaborate climate change strategy and master plan. Member states undertake to develop country specific policies, strategies, plans of action, legislation and establish institutional arrangements for addressing climate change in line with the East African climate change policy. The EAC secretariat collaborates with relevant sub-regional organs and institutions and state institutions in the execution of regional programmes, projects, and activities. This would be achieved through strengthening and mobilizing of capacities of existing relevant institutions and facilities in the region to meet the pressing climate change challenges. There should be well planned institutional framework to effectively plan, effect, coordinate, monitor, and evaluate the policy implementation process. Financial resources to implement the policy are key elements in the implementation of the policy; substantial funds will be required to support mitigation and adaptation initiatives; and sustainable funding to be mobilized from the development partners. Likewise, technology development and transfer are equally critical for the policy implementation. Development and transfer of technology are critical to achieve adaptation and mitigation in the region. Key areas of focus in the field of technology include: adaptation and mitigation options; barriers to technology access; research, development; and the deployment of best environmental technology, and best alternative technologies. The effectiveness of climate policy implemented implementation should lead to the following issues and options: enhance technology development and transfer, including hard technological solutions such as drip irrigation, water harvesting, drought tolerant crop varieties, renewable energy technologies and building technologies; and soft technology such as knowledge, systems, procedures and best practices; address technology transfer barriers, including rules of trade agreements, intellectual property rights (IPRs) and technical trade barriers such as standards, eco-labelling; and enhance and support research and development capacity to foster the development and local manufacture of cleaner production technologies to aid climate change mitigation and adaptation. The capacity building for climate change adaptation and mitigation shall focus on the following realistic issues: Research and systematic observations; 10
Education, training and public awareness; Technology transfer and development; Information sharing, communication, and knowledge management; Institutional strengthening and development; Climate change finance; Science and engineering capacity building; Climate change negotiations; and Partnership building and networking.
Assessing climate Information dissemination effectiveness A monitoring and evaluation framework is vital for climate policy success in the region. The EAC secretariat develops tools and guidelines for monitoring the implementation of the policy at regional level. These include the climate change responsive monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, the EAC climate change strategy and master plan (EAC, 2012). Likewise, climate in Africa is diverse, and controlled by complex interactions between the oceans, land, and atmosphere at local, regional, and global scales (ICSU, 2008). As a consequence, and considering the fact that livelihoods at all levels – from the individual household to the regional economy – depend heavily on climate, several studies have concluded that Africa is among the most vulnerable continents to the climate changes that threaten even higher temperatures and greater variability in future (ICSU, 2007). The continent’s vulnerability is likely to increase in future. However, the adaptive capacity of local, national and regional institutions in Africa is relatively low, due to weak economic, human, social and economic infrastructures, information, governance, corruption, and conflicts that worsen the fragile situation. As a result, Africa is faced with the option of grappling with economic, scientific, engineering, political, and social issues with limited scientific capacity, public awareness, and financial resources to implement policy infrastructures. Capacity building here means providing frameworks for project identification, formulation, and implementation and making the greatest possible use of existing skills and resources. The six capacity building issues which require more collaboration and coordination are: Building and strengthening human capital; Providing applied research infrastructures, adequate remuneration, and incentives for researchers, so as to retain capacity; Communicating more effectively between science and society; Developing the culture of strong links between science and policy; strengthening the links between education and research, and among researchers in different parts of the continent, to form critical mass; Develop strategies for capacity building. The key constraints encountered in capacity building include: lack of an effective integrated or cross-sectored approach; lack of high-level political commitment; frequent communication difficulties among the agencies, institutions, government departments, NGOs/CBOs, and communities involved in the capacity-building activity; data gaps and weaknesses; securing cross-border and inter-regional cooperation; bureaucratic systems and difficulties in identifying training opportunities; lack of awareness; public awarenessraising activities in civil society; capacity-building should be integrated into the overall public-sector reform; specific capacity-building projects are more successful when they establish policy links to other ministries such as agriculture, water, energy, and finance; capacity building should involve institutional and human resource capacity development, institutional capacity building should involve decision- makers at the highest level; both 11
donors and host countries should adopt a long-term approach to capacity building and this requires financial sustainability; national capacity building activities and demand-driven, and to ensure support for their outcomes sustainable. Other key policy infrastructural development and networking issues are: Lack of funding, new technologies, and spare parts and know- how needed for equipment maintenance; The loss of trained staff who take up more attractive offers outside the public sector results in a brain drain, and compromises future capacity development; Lack of functional institutional, policy, and legal frameworks to build capacity; Lack of political stability or the existence of security problems; Recruiting talent into science is a concern; Widening gap between advancing scientific knowledge and technology and society’s ability to capture and use them; Knowledge gaps will require putting in place national strategies for science technology development that are linked to effective policies; and disconnects between research and policy. Capacity building faces key challenges in the sub-region. Knowledge, technology, and capacity gaps with a few exceptions, countries in sub-Saharan Africa lack the capacity to conduct research on natural and human-induced hazards and disasters, or to apply the knowledge and deploy technologies to mitigate disasters (ICSU, 2007). Research is needed on how to communicate warnings of impending disasters effectively, and how to disseminate knowledge to help communities to improve their resilience. The values, needs, and interests of different groups and stakeholders should be taken into account. Rural communities have developed specific coping strategies. Vulnerability and resilience of technological systems all countries, including those in subSaharan Africa, depend on their power transmission and information technology infrastructure, and the level of dependence is likely to increase as African countries seek to bridge the ‘digital divide’. Many natural hazards such as floods, earthquakes, and space weather, can damage these technological systems and cause widespread chaos and economic loss. Effective transfer of information to policy and decision-makers need to establish dialogue among scientists, policy- and decision-makers. As environmental degradation is not only a technical (scientific) problem, any discussion of environmental degradation should involve policy- and decision-makers. Participatory research is needed on how to translate research results into policies that minimize the human and economic cost of hazards, for example, in land use planning and environmental issues. There is more urgent need to transmit scientific knowledge on hazards to support early warning and preparedness. The challenge is how to provide relevant education at different levels (communities, schools, tertiary institutions) to facilitate mitigation of hazards. A gender perspective is needed in disaster risk management policies, plans, and decisionmaking processes, including specific risk assessment, education, and training programmes. Science, technology, engineering, and education and awareness-raising communication campaigns should be directed, as far as possible, at the stakeholders at all levels, and use all structures and establishments to ensure understanding of early warnings of forthcoming hazards and disasters. It is vital to introduce key research findings into school and tertiary curricula by developing teaching aids, for example, DVDs, CDs, and posters. On-line computer-aided interactive learning modules should be developed, for example, case histories with real data and tutorial exercises (an on-line module is being developed by universities in Mauritius, Malta, and the South Pacific dealing with vulnerability of islands to 12
natural disasters). The African Virtual University (AVU) in Nairobi is developing teaching materials. The University of South Africa (a distance learning institution) offers a module in disaster management. The University of Botswana has established policy on ‘virtual centres’ to link climate research scientists working on environmental risks and hazards and disasters. Communication theories like diffusion of innovations theory are required in climate change policy innovation dissemination. The focus of diffusion of innovations theory is creating awareness through information dissemination among the target audiences (Rogers, 1962). Diffusion model identifies the problem as lack of information whose goal (outcome) is behaviour change. The solution to lack of climate change information is information the transfer to spur the required knowledge, attitude and practice. The different types of actions like: social marketing, entertainment, advocacy, social networking, and education. The diffusion of innovations theory studies how, why, and at what rate new ideas spread through cultures (Rogers, 1995). The relevance of innovation diffusion theory is to explain the importance of information dissemination as a precondition for awareness, attitudinal, and behaviour change for adoption and mitigation of climate change technology and research innovations (Okaka, 2010). At every level of society – from ordinary citizens and farmers, to the media, civil society organizations and local and national governments on the need for accurate and reliable information about climate change is very high since little is known about how to communicate climate change (Panos, 2012). Public awareness must be raised about the emerging carbon trading that delivers incomes to individuals, families, and companies. Knowledge sharing of the costs and benefits of carbon trading is an essential step to accessing the financial advantages that carbon trading brings (Panos, 2012). As a result, there is a need for the policy information gaps to be plugged and dissemination of information to be refined for climate change policy to have impact in Africa (Okaka, 2011). Most of the severe problems of the increasing vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change among the indigenous communities in Uganda have come about because there are still information gaps regarding the functions, values and importance of the wise use of natural environment resources by local communities, institutions, and industries. The governments, researchers and research institutions, research networks, civil society organization (NGOs), communities, and external development partners in the EAC are aware of this fact. It is imperative for the Africa to develop an effective regional climate change adaptation policy advocacy campaigns on the hazards of climate change disasters. Africa must achieve sustainable development goals led by ICT innovations, collaborative research, international cooperation, and applied gender equality (UN FCCC, 2002). For example, in Tanzania, NAPA focused on climate change related vulnerabilities in all sectors which are important to the economy (GoT, 2012). After identification of vulnerabilities in each sector, key adaptation options and strategies that would best address those vulnerabilities were developed. The consultations were undertaken at national, regional as well as district levels. Using a list of agreed criteria that best suits Tanzanian conditions and local environment, 14 priority project activities were identified. The following project activities were ranked in order of their perceived importance in fighting poverty: water efficiency in crop irrigation to boost production and conserve water areas; alternative farming systems and water harvesting; develop alternative water storage programs and technology for local communities; community based natural environment catchments conservation and management programmes; invest in renewable sources such as geothermal, wind, solar, biomass, hydro, biodiesel; promotion of use of cogeneration in the industry sector for lost hydro potential; afforestation programs in degraded lands using adaptive and fast growing trees; develop community forest fire prevention plans and 13
programmes; establish community awareness campaigns for preventive health hazards; develop sustainable tourism, wildlife outreaches, and rural communities wildlife resources; water harvesting and recycling; construct infrastructures like: sea walls, sand beaches, beach management system; and establish good land tenure system and facilitate sustainable human settlements. Studies of communication strategies for energy policy leaders found high demand for radio, TV, libraries, radio, books, reports, NGOs, newspapers, magazines, professional journals, internet, colleagues, telephones, and report reading on climate change and global warming (Okaka, 2010).
Conclusion and recommendations There are disastrous social, economic, legal, political, and environmental consequences due to climate change in Africa. It would suffice to develop a sustainable framework for mitigating climate change effects in the context of public communication. Climate change poses a significant threat to lives and livelihoods in Africa. Government policies, low-carbon technologies and financial support from international donors will all play a role in EAC’s responses to climate change. But central to the fight against climate change in the East African community member states is effective communication in public engagement. The strategic priorities outlined in the new national climate change policy guidelines and policy principles in the East African climate change policy are intended to achieve the following national actions and objectives: Mainstream and coordinate desired responses to climate change; Communicate effectively and promote participatory approaches; Promote community-based approaches to adaptation; Devote attention to capacity development and institutional set-ups; Devote attention to technology needs, development, and transfer; Identify, develop, and influence financing mechanisms; Provide a credible delivery structure for climate information service; address crosscutting issues in community outreaches and ethics; Deploy ICTs in climate change policy communication activities; and Mainstream in gender equality and equity in policy decision making. Furthermore, at all levels of society, right from ordinary citizens and farmers, to the media, civil society organizations and local and national governments, the need for accurate and reliable information about climate change is very high. Public awareness must be raised about the emerging carbon trading sector. There gains in carbon trading for incomes to citizens and in curbing GHG emissions risks. On its part, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has fashioned its corporate functions to enhance the role of effective communication strategy for climate change policy for sustainable development in Africa. The bank’s mandate on climate change mitigations, adaptation, and financing policy is pivotal to its mandated core business. AfDB has adopted a holistic result-oriented action plan because climate seriously threatens poverty reduction policies for achievement of the SDGs in Africa. Climate change has exacted a deathblow on agriculture, food and water security, human and animal health, biodiversity, land and environmental degradation in African countries.
References East African community secretariat. (1999). The Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, Arusha, Tanzania. East African Governments. Arusha, Tanzania. 14
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