Climate information services (CIS) are viewed by the international development community as a means of meeting development goals in the context of climate variability and change. While much is made of the potential for CIS to play this role by, for example, the mitigating disaster risk and building resilience among different user populations, far less work has examined the challenges in designing effective climate services and learning from the experience of those services as they are implemented. Therefore, critical knowledge gaps exist in the literature and practice of CIS for development that may limit the potential use and scalability of CIS for further development intervention. A consortium of researchers, donors, and implementers under the Climate Information Services Research Initiative (CISRI) has conducted an assessment of these gaps, and organized them into learning agendas that can move our understanding of CIS forward rapidly and effectively. These sessions are organized around two of these learning agendas: Identifying CIS Users and Their Needs, and Monitoring and Evaluating CIS.
Evidence regarding the effectiveness of climate information services lags relative to growing interest and investment. This gap can be traced, in part, to idiosyncrasies of the climate services community itself, originally dominated by scientists with more experience evaluating the quality of climate information than in understanding the factors that condition its impact and use.
Even as the community has grown to include more social scientists steeped in evaluation methodology, several challenges continue to complicate the evaluation of climate services – thwarting the best efforts of skilled evaluators and temping climate information providers to defer evaluation, or to rely on more easily tracked but less meaningful metrics. In this context, a relative dearth of meaningful evaluative information has prevented the community from developing a more complete understanding of the role that climate services can and do play in African agricultural development.
Our white paper reviews existing evidence regarding the effectiveness of agricultural climate services in Africa, as well as the methodologies used to generate this evidence. This AAG session uses the paper as a jumping off point for a discussion regarding pitfalls and priorities in advancing climate service evaluation in Africa and beyond.
|Introduction||Catherine Vaughan International Research Institute for Climate & Society||10|
|Panelist||Sophie Webber University of Sydney||10|
|Panelist||Kassie Ernst University of Tennessee||10|
|Panelist||Meaghan Daly University of Leeds||10|
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