Briefing note on the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA)

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The Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA) has been working over the last 7 years (from November 2009 to December 2016) to influence climate resilience policy and practice in Uganda, Mozambique and Ethiopia.  This brief highlights ACCRA's unique contribution to enhancing the governance of adaptation and planning processes through a multistakeholder process that builds on: (a) research, knowledge and learning (b) developing trusting and responsive relationships between government, civil society organisations and communities (c) context specific and needs-informed capacity development (d) alliance building and networking It also brings out stories of change that show how ACCRA made gender responsive climate resilience a reality in Uganda, Mozambique and Ethiopia.  
    Briefing note on the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA) Programme Scalable approaches and stories of change from Ethiopia, Uganda and Mozambique June 2016 Community members validating their local adaptation plan with district government officials and ACCRA team in Guija district, Mozambique  ACCRA research is influencing national and global agenda At national level : ACCRA and its alliances members participated strategically in the development the Uganda National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) in 2012. A national CSO s’ position paper that significantly informed the content of the policy can be accessed here. At global level,   ACCRA’s research on adaptive capac ity and flexible forward looking decision-making has been quoted in the IPPCC’s 5 th  Assessment Report on Adaptation Chapter 22. Who we are ACCRA seeks to improve the governance and planning processes of adaptation so that they enhance adaptive capacity; are gender responsive, participatory and people-centred, transparent and accountable. ACCRA works in partnership with governments, civil society, and INGOs to bring about long term change. Unlike many climate change adaptation programmes, ACCRA does not work only at the community level on short term coping strategies. Instead, it changes   the systems of governance    –  by using contextual evidence to build the capacities of decision-makers to think and plan differently for the long term and by enabling the voices and needs of women, men, boys and girls living in poverty to be integrated into climate - resilient development planning and decisions. The resulting longer-term planning and accountability mechanisms are transformative i.e. able to address the causes of vulnerability and risk; not only their impacts .   ACCRA is implemented by an alliance made up of Oxfam GB (the lead partner), the Overseas Development Institute (lead researcher), Save the Children International, Care International and World Vision International, with a close collaborative relationship with International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Currently ACCRA is operational in Mozambique, Ethiopia and Uganda and is funded by UK Department for International Development (DFID). ACCRA’s approach In Ethiopia, Uganda and Mozambique, ACCRA has developed trusted relationships with decision makers and champions of people-centered climate resilience in national governments and civil society organizations. Its approach of working within, rather than outside of national systems has enabled ACCRA to bring about sustainable change at a bigger, system-wide scale that is owned by civil society and governments.   ACCRA’s theory of change features four interrelated components:   1.   Research and learning By engaging with communities and local and national governments, ACRRA generates context-specific and relevant evidence that is grounded in the needs and knowledge of women and men, boys and girls. ACCRA’s research establishes credibility for the programme’s actions within both policy and research spheres and supports decision-makers at different levels to address complex issues that respond to the real needs of communities. ACCRA’s research has developed a sound conceptual framing of adaptive capacity (the Local Adaptive Capacity Framework); an approach to forward, flexible planning and mechanisms for generating and integrating local indicators of change that support accountability.  2.   Building vertical and horizontal connections for inclusive planning ACCRA’s long -term approach to policy engagement is based on developing responsive and trusting relationships with champions in government and civil society organisations, treating them as core partners rather than simply targets or recipients. Reversely, ACCRA facilitates connections of hard to reach communities to their central governments for inclusive planning. 3.   Enhancing skills and knowledge for policy implementation and accountability ACCRA uses context evidence to develop tailored training and capacity enhancement initiatives in response to government and civil society capacity needs. By being an enabling partner, ACCRA develops trust and motivation within government and civil society partners to adopt new approaches and ways of working including accountability mechanisms that enable government commitments to be transparent to communities. 4.   Building alliances and collaborations ACCRA believes that development challenges such as climate change can only be addressed by an open and collaborative approach. Therefore the ACCRA alliance pro-actively builds and engages with networks, sharing its learning and tools at international, regional and national events, and supporting champions of change whilst modelling leadership for long-term transformative change. What makes ACCRA unique at influencing systems?    High quality research and evidence, through innovative tools including the Local Adaptive Capacity Framework, political economy analysis tools, and games on Flexible and Forward-looking Decision Making (FFDM). The generated contextual evidence form the basis of ACCRA’s capacity enhancement and policy influencing strategies.    Pilot projects  are used to demonstrate how change can happen and advocate for scaling up of good practice. ACCRA’s most successful policy influencing pilots include  1) Improving access and use of weather forecasts by rural farmers and general public 2) Developing climate change indicators and local adaptation plans through participatory processes 3) Mainstreaming gender, CCA and DRR into local government development plans that have generated programmes that are people-centred.    ACCRA makes documentation and learning  a priority to facilitate effective sharing of experience and lessons learnt across focus countries, but also in relevant networking platforms at national, regional and global levels.    ACCRA benefits from the strong institutional capacity and commitment of its alliance members  in county and globally to address climate change. It harnesses the diverse expertise from country teams, alliance members and international partners through effective coordination and collaboration on key policy actions.    Thanks to well connected and active staff within the climate change and resilience community of practice, ACCRA stays informed about the political environment  of the countries it operates in.    Non-confrontational methods   are ACCRA’s preferred option to co-design and co-produce solutions with advocacy targets. This gives greater sustainability to the learning and capacity building processes that ACCRA is engaged in at national and local levels. Picture: Ethiopia Woreda planners playing the Flexible and Forward Lookin Decision -Makin FFDM Game    Stories of change Improving access and utilisation of weather and climate information services in Uganda Until 2012, the Uganda Meteorological Authority has adopted a seasonal forecast model initiated by ACCRA and its members which registered significant institutional practice change, so that rural women and men farmers now have access to weather information in their local language. The innovation has attracted other donors such as GIZ, USAID, and UNICEF to scale up ACCRA’s model. Developing local adaptation plans (LAPs) and National climate change indicators: through the tracking adaptation and measuring development (TAMD) approach In Mozambique the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development (MITADER) has adopted the TAMD process as a climate-resilience planning tool for developing local adaptation plans. This has helped the government attract additional funds (e.g. DANIDA) scaled up to 25 local adaptation plans (LAPs) from 7 piloted by ACCRA and USIAID has piloted the model in urban context with 2 municipalities of Quelimane and Pemba. In Uganda, the Ministry of Water and Environment and the Climate Change Department has adopted the TAMD process and developed standard national climate change indicators which were generated at community level, and validated by national decision makers. The indicators are yet to be approved by cabinet.   “  For the first time we have received the weather forecasts in the local language, which has not happened before. When I heard the programme on the radio, I was excited and kept listening every day. I do not know how to write, so I instructed my son to write the important points. It has helped me to plan and so far the forecast has been accurate’’   Woman farmer, Northern Uganda   District government staff presenting the Local Adaptation Plan to the community for their validation in Guija, Mozambique
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