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Strengthening the science-policy interface for climate adaptation: stakeholder perceptions in Cameroon
- Nkiaka, Elias, Lovett, Jon C.
- Regional environmental change 2019 v.19 no.4 pp. 1047-1057
- climate, climate change, coasts, decision making, farm inputs, farmers, issues and policy, leadership, planning, politics, stakeholders, variance, water management, water resources, Cameroon
- Even when they are societally relevant, scientific research results do not always contribute to policy development for solving societal problems, with science and policy often on parallel lines failing to intersect. For scientific research to be useful for decision making, it must answer questions relevant for bridging the gap to policy, and so enhance the science-policy interface (SPI). In this study, Q methodology was used to capture perspectives from “multi-level” stakeholders holding different viewpoints about climate change in order to strengthen the SPI for climate adaptation in Cameroon. The views expressed by stakeholders resolved into three discourses which together explained 59% of the Q-analysis variance. The first discourse explained 21% of the variance and focused on vulnerability and impacts of climate change. Under this discourse, stakeholders recognized the Sudano-Sahel and coastal zones as areas most vulnerable to climate change in Cameroon, with water resources and agriculture as the most vulnerable sectors. The second discourse explained 20% of the study variance and focused on adaptation planning. Political leadership was identified as crucially important for driving adaptation. The third discourse explained 18% of the study variance and centered on policy incentives. Key policy areas that can be put in place to raise the adaptive capacity of the population were identified. Proposed policies included integrated water resources management (IWRM) and the distribution of farm inputs to farmers to boost agricultural production. Under each discourse, stakeholders proposed a series of research areas that could be used as a starting point to strengthen the SPI initiative in Cameroon.