Bridging the Information Gap

Cooperation with science on climate risk analyses for identifying and weighing adaptation strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopian farmer ⎮ © Brice Synergos / flickr

With climate change impacts increasingly affecting livelihoods and dampening economic growth, effective adaptation is essential to ensure that already achieved development gains are not endangered. However, often only limited information is available on climate change impacts, as well as on the costs and benefits of concrete adaptation options.

As part of the project Climate risk analyses for identifying and weighing adaptation strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa (AGRICA), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in cooperation with GIZ and on behalf of BMZ, is conducting in-depth climate risk analyses for selected sub-Saharan countries.

Most countries already recognize the importance of strengthening resilience and of implementing adaptation action as a response to climate change. As part of their international commitments such as under the Paris Agreement, countries seek to develop and implement adaptation policies and investment plans, for instance in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

Oftentimes, there is limited access to reliable information on climate risks, its impacts and costs that are needed to inform local decision-makers and to operationalize suitable adaptation goals. Hence, there is a need for science-based adaptation planning which requires sound climate risk analyses and assessment of potential adaptation strategies.

Cover of CRA for Ethiopia ⎮ © GIZ/PIK

To address this issue, GIZ cooperates with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in the framework of the project Climate risk analyses for identifying and weighing adaptation strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa (AGRICA). It provides comprehensive climate risk analyses (CRA) for the agricultural sector of selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the study approach, the full impact chain, from a changing climate to changing water availability and resulting climate impacts on the agriculture sector, is considered. Using this information, the studies identify and analyse suitable adaptation strategies in an action dimension based on their feasibility, cost-effectiveness, biophysical performance and aptitude for local conditions.

The study results then provide decision-makers in the partner countries with costed adaptation scenarios based on state-of-the-art climate risk modeling. Local knowledge and data play a fundamental role in the study approach, ensuring that the proposed measures fit into local conditions. Therefore, the PIK climate risk analyses are elaborated in close cooperation with local stakeholders, including political decision-makers, academia and civil society. Based on this premise, regular stakeholder workshops in the partner countries as well as the validation of findings and participatory elaboration of policy implications are paramount. The findings are meant to inform national and sub-national adaptation planning including NDC and NAP development and review processes but will also provide useful information and evidence to local decision-makers at other planning and implementation levels. Additionally, the data and projections collected and modeled by the AGRICA project are made publicly available and thus accessible for everyone.

After the successful implementation of the first pilot studies in Ghana and Ethiopia the local partners have already shown their interest in using the results for the upcoming NDC reviews and updates as well as for the review of their national development strategies. Due to these positive experiences, further CRAs are currently being developed for Burkina Faso and Niger as well as in Ghana on the district level.

The comprehensive climate risk analyses are supplemented by compact climate risk profiles (CRP) that are currently being elaborated for 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Tanzania, Chad, Uganda). The CRPs offer a short, country-specific overview, of existing and projected climate risks in relevant sectors and areas. Risk profiles for Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali and Niger have already been published and can be downloaded here.

The CRPs are particularly suitable for climate mainstreaming in a broader group of potential users consisting of BMZ, GIZ, KfW as well as for partner dialogue.

More information


Enrico Grams, Advisor at Section Climate Change and Climate Policy, GIZ Bonn: