From pilots to systems: barriers and enablers to scaling up the use of climate information services in smallholder farming communities

Chandni Singh, Penny Urquhart, Evans Kituyi, Katharine Vincent  | 2016


Climate information services (CIS) have emerged as a key input for adaptation decision making aiming to strengthen agricultural livelihoods by managing climate risks. Many pilot projects have been implemented in developing countries to either strengthen existing systems or put in place new systems to deliver climate information to multiple actors. However, scaling up these pilot project-based initiatives in order to contribute further to more sustainable and institutionalized systems remains a challenge. In order to unpack the gap between piloting and successfully up-scaling CIS initiatives, this paper explores the key constraints to and enablers of scaling up CIS by drawing on case studies from research, policy and practice in Africa and South Asia. The evidence contained in this paper was collected through an extensive literature review and from expert opinions elicited during the Ninth International Conference on Community-based Adaptation (CBA9) held in Nairobi in April 2015. We find that transitioning from CIS pilots to systems is possible when scaling up is mainstreamed in the project design stage with a clear financial model for sustainability, includes multiple stakeholders through iterative participatory processes, identifies and engages with pilot-project champions and intermediaries, exploits new communication mechanisms such as information and communication technologies (ICTs), and creates and supports effective partnerships that enable knowledge co-production.