The ‘Development under Climate Change’ (DUCC) project began implementation in 2010. At that time, there were remarkably few researchers and government officials in developing countries who had considered in detail the interactions between climate policies and development policies. In the view of UNU-WIDER, the lack of broad based understanding of climate change and climate change issues in the large majority of developing countries was deeply problematic. This view was strongly reinforced by the reality that climate change is likely to remain a serious issue for decades to come if not indefinitely. One of the difficulties in assisting policy-makers in developing countries address the uncertainties of climate change is to translate scientific and biophysical processes into economic outcomes, which can then be addressed through policy. Understanding the impacts of climate change and its links to development policy therefore requires a range of methodologies and a multidisciplinary team.
Consequently, the project explicitly opted for a broad approach to policy engagement and research uptake. The project has sought not just to contribute to improved policy-making today but also to contribute to the development of a firm basis for improved policy-making into the future. As such, the project engaged in multi-disciplinary research, vigorous dissemination, innovative training using distance techniques, curriculum development, joint research and training including transfer of tools, and engagement with decision-makers both within and outside of governments.
The project consisted of two parts. The first part focused on primary scientific research and has been completed in mid-2012. UNU-WIDER, in collaboration with external partners, has developed an analytical framework, labeled Robust Development Path Assessment (RDPA) that integrates comprehensive biophysical and economic analysis. Using this approach, the programme contributed in four areas. First, the considerable uncertainties associated with the science of climate change at the country/regional level received explicit attention. Second, the programme incorporated the potential evolution of world market prices under alternative climate and policy scenarios into the evaluation of strategic options at the country level. Third, the programme helped identify and analyze low-carbon growth paths for developing countries. Finally, UNU-WIDER has adopted a regional approach to the analysis of climate change.
The second project part, initiated in February 2012, involved UNU-WIDER’s collaboration with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). This partnership included three broad areas. First, UNU-WIDER and AERC have been building capacity amongst African researchers to teach university-level courses in the area of climate change. This involved developing a course curriculum and conducting training courses for researchers in the AERC network. Secondly, UNU-WIDER has been supporting key ministries within five Southern African countries to incorporate climate change considerations within national planning. Finally, UNU-WIDER and AERC issued research grants to promising African scholars to either work with UNU-WIDER on its climate change research programme, or to conduct independent research on climate change in their own countries.
In addition to the research programme, the project teamed with the AERC and analytical units within key central ministries within focus countries to build capacity for analysis. The rationale is that climate change as an issue is highly unlikely to disappear for many years into the future. By forming links with academic researchers through the AERC and key policy institutions within governments, UNU-WIDER hopes to create a platform on which both research and capacity building efforts can take place. Through this programme, the AERC and UNU-WIDER seek to construct a framework that generates high quality, locally owned, relevant research that achieves impact.