As an authority in the field, OneWorld applies a development lens to addressing climate change in all we do. We understand local problems and use local knowledge to find optimum solutions to complex issues. As an African consultancy, we realise the importance of sustained stakeholder engagement in any successful project – and the necessity of local ownership. Our outputs stand up to academic scrutiny and we are recognised as regional leaders in the field of climate change.
With our focus on the interface between science, policy and finance, OneWorld has developed skills and experience in translating the overwhelming evidence base of climate change and impact into realistic policy and institutional arrangements.
Our work spans four areas of expertise: Water Governance, Climate-Smart Finance, Climate & Development Futures, and Inclusive Green Growth & Energy.
International responses to climate change include response strategies (mitigation and adaptation) to facilitate greater resilience to apparent and expected impacts. However, those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change are the countries least equipped to deal with the consequences. These are typically those nations classed as less developed. The economies and livelihoods of most of these countries are strongly dependent on favourable climatic conditions. Weather in Africa already affects agriculture and food security, water resource availability and quality, and human and animal health. Climate variability has lowered resilience and climate change will worsen this trajectory as developing countries continue to struggle with poverty, political instability, debt, food insecurity, inadequate water and energy access.
Resilience underpins sustainability and will be integral to achieving the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The objective of building resilience on the African continent is aligned with OneWorld’s creed of building resilience through natural resource management, ecosystem conservation and community engagement. OneWorld continues to build on its experience in working in shared river basins and transboundary settings, as well as in local-level climate change responses throughout the African continent. Related expertise includes the development of a robust and contextualised evidence base for building resilience and in supporting sustainable climate change response strategies and policies across Africa. We take a systems view that encompasses assessing risk and vulnerability to climate impacts and that considers responses in the political and local economy contexts. This is predicated by deep in-country knowledge of biophyiscal, socio-economic, and governance conditions in African countries and regions.
Climate finance is central to enabling climate change responses in developing countries. If African countries do not develop, their economies will deteriorate. Likewise, if they do not respond to climate change, their economies will deteriorate.
The governments of these countries are constantly faced with difficult choices on how best to expend scarce financial and human resources. Until climate and development needs are smoothly integrated into national policy directives, development will take precedence, emphasising the need for dedicated climate finance. The global climate finance architecture is evolving rapidly and is often complex to navigate.
There exist a variety of national and international climate funds, with different access modalities and a diversity of climate-related projects funded – for both adaptation and mitigation purposes. In addition, bilateral funding arrangements exist between donor governments and developing countries.
OneWorld endeavours to make a valuable contribution to the climate finance knowledge base and the development of its architecture. We constantly seek insight into efficient, transparent and country-driven approaches to the delivery of climate finance – crucial to achieving the global objectives of climate change policy, particularly in an African context. Our work ranges from translating the climate finance architecture into accesssible language for policy makers, to understanding how to accelerate climate finance readiness by increasing the absorptive capacity of African countries. We work with continental and regional institutions and national governments to increase climate finance knowledge, to analyse how best to use climate funding to co-finance climate compatible investments, and to identify and develop capacity and mechanisms for enhancing readiness.
Developing countries participate in global negotiations on climate change (through the multilateral United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), desertification (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and biodiversity (United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity). At the same time, these nations grapple with how to domesticate climate responses that meet national needs at the same time as accelerating sustainable (and beneficial) global negotiation outcomes. This is a serious challenge for policymakers. The global debates on balancing adaptation needs with tangible socio-economic progress along low carbon development trajectories; distributing costs and benefits between individuals, generations and nations; assigning compensation and liability; and integrating ethics and ensuring fairness in relation to the design and governance of institutions aimed at addressing climate change, are hard to balance with prevailing national development needs.
Working directly at the science-policy interface, OneWorld aims to translate the challenges faced by African countries, as well as regional and continental institutions, into comprehensible, realistic solutions for policy-makers. Clients and beneficiaries include both national and local governments, regional and transboundary organisations such as regional economic and trade communities, river basin organisations, and the Africa Group of Negotiators. Our primary objective is to continuously drive for institutional change and see domestic policy reforms that lead and strengthen Africa’s voice in the multilateral negotiations.
In Africa, poor infrastructure, low human development and high poverty levels, a lack of access to basic energy resources and weak institutional capacities characterise many nations as least developed countries (LDCs), and negate effective climate change responses. Global action on reducing GHG emissions is increasingly necessary, but developing countries need to be guaranteed of equitable, and sustainable growth trajectories without an associated increase in emissions. OneWorld’s green growth work recognises the critical challenge of aligning a low-carbon development pathway with the requirements of promoting economic growth and raising per capita income levels. We focus on the key dimensions and elements of African economic development strategies that would need to be in place to move towards a low-carbon trajectory. The critical challenge for these countries going forward is not to decarbonise existing economic structures, but rather to develop productive capacities while avoiding the build-up of high-carbon economies relying on unsustainable technologies. This defines our approach to developing green growth strategies.
Green growth strategies provide the linkage between climate change and development. The job creation, skills and enterprise development opportunities in low carbon developement, effective resource management and use of more sustainable technologies are fast becoming clearer and African countries would do well in positioning their climate and development plans to realise the related green growth opportunites. OneWorld takes an integrative approach to projects, including the assessment of the interactions of the relevant socio-economic, physical, environmental and governance components of green growth strategies.