Some of the greatest environmental challenges in the world today are climate change and resource depletion, both of which could have dire consequences for Africa if not handled innovatively. Africa is considered to be very vulnerable to climate change and the unsustainable depletion of resources. Innovative ways of response are, therefore, urgently needed in order to effectively cope with these challenges.
It cannot be assumed, as so often is done on a project level, that such responses or interventions are merely financial, technical or institutional. Social, institutional, political and cultural support systems in Africa are malfunctioning or under severe stress already, hence a systematic transdisciplinary approach that acknowledges complexity and takes account of the whole system transitioning is needed for effective climate change adaptation and efficient resource use.
The aim of the paper is to further explore the parameters of innovative approaches to climate change adaptation and resource use in African conditions. We present a short outline of the academic literature on complexity, transdisciplinarity and systems approaches and apply these to the fields of climate adaptation and resource use.
Suggested parameters for an integrated conceptual model are formulated. It is argued that innovative approaches to complex issues such as adapting to climate change and improving resource efficiency in Africa would require an integrated, systems and transdisciplinary approach that takes African contexts as a point of departure, and that explicitly include an analysis of human behaviour as a force of change. This integrated approach provides a basis for the development of sustainable innovations for climate change adaptation and resource use in Africa.