Building African capacity for climate change and development challenges

In Africa, where existing poverty and development challenges will be greatly compounded by climate and other global environmental change, it is fundamental to enable development that is equitable, low in carbon emissions, and resilient to existing and expected climate risks and impacts.

The ARUA Centre of Excellence in Climate and Development (ARUA-CD) is an African-led and pan-African response to the continent’s climate-related development challenges and the knowledge and capacity urgently needed to address these.

Vision, mission and goals

Our vision is of African-led solutions, achieved through research excellence, knowledge co-production, and capacity building. Our mission is to create an enabling platform that is inclusive and transformational and embraces all forms of knowledge.

To achieve this we:

  • Conduct comparative, integrative, transdisciplinary research, and explore innovative methods and approaches for doing research for impact.

  • Work to produce graduates who are equipped with the skills and aptitudes for an uncertain and changing future.

  • Use social learning processes to upskill researchers, policy makers, practitioners and communities, so as to influence policy, planning and action by empowering stakeholders and local communities to consider social, financial and technological solutions.

  • Work to build a comprehensive and inclusive pan-African research network that includes public and private think tanks,  higher education and research institutions, development and boundary organisations, government, civil society, and the private sector.

Our Partnership

The ARUA-CD consists of three core regional partners: the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI, based at the University of Cape Town) in Southern Africa, the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS, based at the University of Ghana) in West Africa, and the Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation (ICCA, based at the University of Nairobi) in East Africa.

Our partnership has a flat governance structure with all three universities playing leadership roles. Each regional hub has extensive existing capacity, local and international networks, as well as research and student teaching experience in climate change and development. This provides us with an excellent foundation upon which to build.

Values and Principles

  • African based and African led

  • Problem-based, solutions-oriented advocacy

  • Integrative, rigorous and transdisciplinary

  • Inclusive, context appropriate, and socially just

  • Ethical, reflexive, and preventing of harm

  • Trusting, open, respectful and empathic and transparent

  • Courageous, creative, and innovative

  • Disruptive, transgressive and unorthodox

The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) is a network of universities from different countries and different historical backgrounds, with the goal of enhancing research and graduate training in member universities through a number of channels, including the setting up of Centres of Excellence (CoE) to be hosted by member universities.

The ARUA CoEs are intended to be focal points for aggregating world-class researchers from member universities to undertake collaborative research in priority thematic areas related to the Sustainable Development Goals. They also strive to provide opportunities for graduate students from the region and elsewhere to work with the researchers.