Commitment to science-based methods: how ACED is contributing to the scientific knowledge base and utilizing science in climate adaptation strategies

ACED is a think-and-do tank. All our interventions are science-based and evidence-informed. To achieve the greatest impact from our interventions, ACED adopts a non-linear approach, combining research, action and policy. Our approach involves the generation of robust evidence through research to enhance understanding of the challenges faced by vulnerable communities. ACED endorses the Adaptation Research Alliance principles of Research for Impact that requires ensuring that research is needs-driven and solutions-oriented, that both research questions and results are co-produced with potential users, and that the capacity of actors is strengthened in the long term. To deliver on this objective, ACED collaborates with universities and research institutions to produce and disseminate reports and scientific publications.

Second, research knowledge products are reformulated into actionable policy recommendations and used to inform practitioners and decision-makers in the areas of agriculture, rural development, urban food systems, resilience to climate change, and environmental preservation. Moreover, ACED goes beyond research and evidence use by collaborating with local communities and other agricultural stakeholders in Benin to implement solutions in the field.

This research-based approach has been utilized in our interventions related to climate change adaptation. For example, from 2013 to 2015, ACED developed collaborative research with the University of Quebec in Montreal to improve understanding of the vulnerabilities of coastal communities and livestock breeders to climate change in Benin and develop adaptation strategies. The research found high levels of vulnerability among Benin’s agricultural communities that depend on the livestock sector and coastal resources – but also revealed local adaptation strategies, such as integrating livestock and crops and adopting fish farming as opposed to capturing fisheries, respectively. We have then implemented various field actions to support communities in adopting these adaptation strategies.

More recently, with support from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, and in partnership with Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and the University of Abomey-Calavi, ACED has also conducted a large research on inland fishery. The research programme addressed the increased pollution levels, overfishing and climate change that undermines the potential of inland fisheries to contribute to the country’s food and nutritional security. Over 2000 fishermen and fisherwomen were interviewed, and biophysical analyses were done on the aquatic systems to determine the impact of climate change on inland fishery, among others. The research findings were used to inform national policies and support adaptation of local communities. Using science to influence policymaking is crucial so we will continue bridging the gap in Benin and the region.