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Fall 2010 - 60880 - PA682GA - Policy Research Project on Global Policy Issues

International Development Aid for Climate Change Adaption in Africa

Instructor(s): Weaver, Catherine
Unique Number: 60880
Day & Time: T 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.316/350
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Each student will be required to take this two-semester course in his or her second year. Topics will vary. In each course, a research team of ten to twenty students led by one or two professors will study a contemporary policy problem of interest to a specific client. Policy research projects are both client- and product-oriented and serve as instruments for both learning and public service.

Section Description

There are billions of dollars in international development aid that flow into Africa every year to alleviate poverty and promote socio-economic development, and a significant portion of this is now targeted to assist countries in adapting to climate change that is expected to negatively affect their development progress. Yet in the midst of raging debates about the benefits, transparency and accountability of international aid to Africa, what do we really know about how much and what kind of aid is going towards climate change adaptation, and to what effect?

This PRP examines international development aid for climate adaptation in Africa. It is funded by a multiyear, multi-million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Minerva Initiative on Climate Change and African Political Stability. In this course, we will analyze how different actors and institutions in the international aid community define the problem of climate change for African development, and to assess where differences in analysis of the policy problem have led to differences in proposed solutions. Specifically, we will draw upon and add to a new aid tracking database, AidData. We will compile an original dataset on international aid for climate change adaptation in Africa, with the goal of addressing four questions: (1) what problems and inconsistencies are there in the reporting of adaptation aid by different donors? (2) what information can we gather to through existing project documents or direct contact with aid agencies to geo-reference aid programs and produce “adaptation aid maps” so that we have better information about how much and where aid money is going in a real-time format?; (3) how might we assess strategies for enhanced interagency coordination among donors in project design and implementation?; and (4) how can we identify and assess plans for evaluation of adaptation aid programs?

In this course, students will attain a high degree of familiarity with international aid to Africa in general, and more specifically aid data and reporting systems in the area of climate change adaptation. Students will also develop skills related to coding, database management, and analytical writing for a policy audience. Fieldwork at major international development aid agencies’ locations is likely, depending on funding. The cumulative product will be a set of reports on aid for climate change adaptation in Africa, with a likely trip to present our findings at a major conference in Dakar, Senegal in May 2011.