The SARUA Programme for Climate Change Capacity Development

In 2010, SARUA member Vice-Chancellors met for a Leadership Dialogue at the University of Mauritius and initiated the SARUA Programme for Climate Change Capacity Development (PCCCD) with the following vision:

“To significantly enhance the climate adaptive capacity and resilience of the SADC region through the development of a collaborative network of higher education institutions capable of pooling resources, maximising the value of its intellectual capital and attracting significant investment into the region.”

The 2010 Framework for Action on Climate Change and Adaptation in Higher Education in SADC acted upon the real challenge of climate change as a shared threat and knowledge gap which required a regional response:

  • to create awareness and to sensitise communities, governments and the private sector about the risks of climate variability and change for development prospects in the region;
  • to significantly improve research and knowledge generation on climate change, adaptation measures and the associated costs and benefits;
  • to better disseminate information and knowledge amongst all stakeholders;
  • to strengthen regional scientific policy development and implementation as well as institutional capacity; and
  • to improve regional capacity for active participation in international policy networks.

In 2012, SARUA commenced with a regional Climate Change Counts mapping study to verify and define the knowledge and research gaps. The results of this mapping study was published as a regional Knowledge Co-Production Framework in two volumes and is available HERE.

The framework recommended the establishment of four collaborative networks for climate change knowledge production in the region:

A regional Master's curriculum and courseware in climate change and sustainable development

The SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network (SCIN) is the first PCCCD network to be established following on the mapping study. It was launched in June 2015 and in 2016 is developing a Master’s degree curriculum and courseware in climate change and sustainable development. The curriculum and courseware will be published regionally on an Open Access basis for participating universities and stakeholders to engage with and contribute to it. Curriculum capacity development workshops for lecturers are being held in 2016 to build capacity in universities who wish to customise and deliver the Master’s programme at individual university level.
The curriculum is being developed by a University Delivery Consortium comprising specialists from seven SADC universities, representing five countries in the region:

The purpose of the Master’s level curriculum is to prepare graduates for either i) further academic research, or ii) to enter the workplace in policy or practice, in the broad area of climate change and sustainable development in Africa. The curriculum aims to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes, as well as competencies (the functional integration of knowledge, skills and attitudes) that can be used to understand, define and respond to complex problems related to climate change and sustainable development in Africa. The approach is transdisciplinary, includes the ability to engage inclusively with non-academic communities from different sectors relating to climate change and sustainable development in Africa. The graduate will have broad knowledge of the field, with the capacity to self-specialise rapidly as needed.

The purpose of the curriculum is thus threefold:

  1. Firsty, it focuses on building knowledge of climate change and development from academic and applied perspectives, and in-depth understanding of climate change issues in specific domains critical to development in Africa.
  2. The second priority is to develop the skills and attitudes needed to use or generate relevant knowledge. Such skills and attitudes include the ability to engage inclusively with non-academic communities from different sectors relating to climate change and sustainable development in Africa.
  3. Thirdly, the curriculum aims to integrate knowledge, skills and attitudes to achieve functional competencies for responding to complex societal issues.