Strengthening relationships and shaping a common agenda for actors working at the climate-development nexus through stakeholder mapping.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to delivering a positive impact for people and the planet. That’s why new grant-making body the African Climate Foundation (ACF) commissioned Human City to identify potential ways to address climate-development within South Africa and to articulate an African-led approach that unites all actors.

The problem

The most influential players don’t always agree. They may even occupy competing positions. This can leave actors working on similar issues disconnected, leading to lack of momentum when it comes to addressing climate change and socio-economic development on the continent.

The considerations

ACF asked us to carry out stakeholder mapping in order to understand the role of civil society actors operating within South Africa and establish an African-led approach to tackling climate and development priorities. The goal of this process was two-fold: 

  • To identify core areas of alignment, and opportunities to grow momentum and promote transformation through a shared narrative; 
  • To identify existing ties between stakeholders operating at the climate-development nexus, and which connections might be strengthened.

The implementation

Methodologically, our approach was to carry out:

  • A desktop review to identify key stakeholder groups and their perspectives on climate change and socio-economic development within South Africa; 
  • Interviews to gain deep insight into the roles and relationships between the main actors; 
  • Workshops to obtain feedback on perceived barriers to change and strategic opportunities for the sector; 
  • A sector-wide survey to identify synergies, common goals and actionable insights at scale.

We used the interactive collaboration tool Miro during the interviews and workshops. 

The benefits

This research allowed ACF to engage virtually with over 100 representatives from key organisations tackling environmental, social and economic challenges in Africa, and gain insight into issues affecting the continent. It:

  1. Enabled ACF to identify emerging narratives related to climate change and socio-economic development in South Africa. It illuminated the main approaches to climate-development issues.
  1. Highlighted significant practical challenges that stakeholders must overcome to deliver impact, and ways in which partnerships with other stakeholders might enable them to achieve this. 
  1. Provided a strategy for stakeholder selection and engagement. This included a flow diagram, enabling stakeholders to be ‘“filtered’” and primary stakeholders and partners selected to build a community of practice.

We drew on our findings to identify grant-making opportunities for ACF, focussing on building coalitions between actors to break down existing silos. We also advised on the infrastructure necessary to support new ways of working. This fed into ACF’s communications campaign and served to shape its agenda for the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) in 2022. 

Want us to help you think about your strategy? Get in touch