As evidence mounts about the effects that climate change has at the global level, so does the need to better understand and respond to emerging development challenges associated with the shifting climate.

The increased frequency and intensity of weather events, as well as the changing patterns of temperature and precipitation, can have devastating effects particularly in developing countries. With limited capacities and resources to respond to storms, droughts, landslides, floods, and to their impacts on local social systems (i.e. food security, health, infrastructure, transportation, migration), the ability of vulnerable populations to escape poverty and adapt to climate change is significantly constrained.

Innovative strategies to better mitigate, monitor and adapt to the impacts of the changing climate are urgently required. Simultaneously, information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly diffusing into developing regions. Mobile phones are diffusing furthest and fastest but PCs, Internet access, community radio and other digital tools are increasingly available.

The Climate Change, ICTs and Innovation initiative emerges at the intersection of these two trends, exploring the role that information and communication technologies can play in addressing climate change challenges faced by developing countries.

This two-year research project was supported by the International Development Research Centre(IDRC) of Canada, and led by the Centre for Development Informatics (CDI) of the University of Manchester. Its specific focus was:

  • To summarise and conceptualise existing knowledge through preparation of a scoping study and concept paper on the subject;
  • To develop new knowledge through a set of thematic papers that will explore ICTs’ role in mitigation, monitoring, strategising and adaptation to climate change;
  • To develop new evidence from concrete examples and their lessons drawn from a series of regional case studies.

These project outputs have been disseminated through a book; a set of online strategy briefings and a policy paper aimed at a core audience of ICT and climate change strategists and policy-makers; and an international workshop that took forward both a policy and a future research agenda.