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Stakeholder Influence Mapping in the Climate Change Adaptation Agenda: Lessons From Namibia

Climate change projections for Namibia project temperature increases of 1 to 4°C and increased variability in rainfall patterns. The climate risks associated with temperature increase and unpredictable rainfall will impact subsistence farmers and consequently the rural Namibian population that rely mainly on rain-fed agriculture. The Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Areas (ASSAR) is conducting research to deepen understanding of the drivers of vulnerability to climate change and explore ways to promote e ective adaptation across scales in semi-arid regions. The multi-institution research project is funded by the United Kingdom’s DFID (Department for International Development) and Canada’s IDRC (International Development and Research Center) and is being led by the African Climate Change and Development Initiative (ACDI) at the University of Cape Town. The research is taking place until October 2018 in four regions i.e. Southern Africa, East Africa, West Africa and South Asia.

The primary focus of the ASSAR project is to better prepare the communities and governments of the semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia for the potential impacts of climate change. To achieve this, ASSAR is conducting high-quality, regionally relevant, and stakeholder-driven research, which will identify the factors that prevent and enable widespread and long-term adaptation.

In July 2015 ASSAR researchers held a half-day Stakeholder In uence Mapping workshop with 11 national level stakeholders (including government, NGO’s and researchers) in Windhoek to map stakeholder influence in the implementation of the Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) agenda in North Central Namibia. The workshop followed the approach of Eva Schiffer’s Net-Map Toolbox and was facilitated by Oxfam and the ASSAR southern African team (Universities of Cape Town, Namibia and Botswana).

The workshop aimed to: i) identify stakeholders who are critical in the CCA agenda; and ii) identify how influential different stakeholders are in the CCA agenda, in both enabling and preventing the implementation of CCA.

From the national government stakeholder’s perspective national ministries are seen as the most influential actors because of their direct involvement in planning and decision-making processes. Whereas the local community was being perceived by national government as having the least in uence in CCA and were viewed simply as being the passive receivers of decisions taken at higher levels.

Multi-lateral organisations (e.g. Global Environmental Facility, United Nations Development Programme, GIZ) were seen as the second most influential stakeholder type in the eyes of government because of the funding they provide – once again showing a top-down trend.

On the other hand, researchers felt that local government were slightly more in uential than both national government and traditional authorities because they administer budgets and are responsible for implementing actions on the ground.

The group of NGOs on the other hand, perceived that NGOs and research institutions (including consultancies which often assist government to prioritize issues and undertake targeted research) are as influential as national government, because of their access to funding and their close relationship with communities and vulnerable groups. Although we had three different groups of stakeholders (i.e. government, researchers and NGOs), the overall findings from this exercise suggest a top-down approach with respect to the CCA agenda with all groups agreeing that national government particularly the ministries are amongst the most in uential actors. Although the community is important, the current structure from the mapping exercise place the local communities at the periphery of the network implementing adaptation activities as per direction from the national government.

In conclusion, strategies or planning aimed at supporting climate change adaptation can be improved with increased understanding of the influence of state and non-state actors across governance scales in enabling and preventing the implementation of adaptation measures.

About the authors: 

Dr. Salma Hegga is a post- doctoral fellow at UCT/ACDI on the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR). Her research work on ASSAR focuses on governance and climate change vulnerability & adaptation in Southern Africa.

Ms. Nguza Siyambango is a climate change and disaster risk management researcher at the University of Namibia under the Life Science Division (LSD)/ Multi-Disciplinary Research Centre (MRC). Her research work at LSD/MRC focuses on Community based adaptation strategies and Vulnerability and risk assessments. 


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