Climate change adaptation must be informed by different types of knowledge, both scientific and "traditional," from various fields and disciplines. But what happens when such diverse perspectives coalesce? How can researchers create participatory and open spaces to encourage information sharing between different constituencies? What does "openness" mean to those involved? This article by the Institute of Development Studies’ Blane Harvey grapples with these questions.
Through the case study of AfricaAdapt, a CCAA-funded platform for collaboration and communication on climate change, Harvey examines processes of "meaning making" in international networks. Through different levels of negotiation, network actors create shared definitions of concepts such as "openness," "development," and "research." These processes are not always visible or openly discussed, and power dynamics between actors often influence their outcomes.
Furthermore, mediating technologies – be they information and communication technologies (ICTs) or development tools like the "project" – shape how participatory spaces are created. While ICTs may broaden the potential reach of a network, their use may also unintentionally exclude certain communities.
To read more, Download the PDF: Negotiating Openness across Science, ICTs, and Participatory Development: Lessons from the AfricaAdapt Network
This article shares reflections from a CCAA-funded knowledge-sharing project, AfricaAdapt. The project was initiated under the auspices of the Institute of Development Studies and has recently been devolved to African partners. Dakar-based ENDA-Tiers Monde now leads the project in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, and the Nairobi-based IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) Climate Predictions and Applications Centre.
The article appeared in the spring 2011 volume of Information Technologies & International Development.
For more information on AfricaAdapt, visit the AfricaAdapt website
The Climate Change Adaptation in Africa research and capacity development program was launched in 2006 as a joint initiative of Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Photo (top): AfricaAdapt
Participants share ideas during the 2011 AfricaAdapt Symposium.
You can find other results from this project below.