Science-based policies constitute for climate change issue an important and effective weapon that can be used by policy makers to improve conditions of local populations. In order to improve the knowledge exchange process that leads to the formulation of such policies, this study was undertaken in Ghana, particularly in Accra. It aims to describe climate change policy process, assess the transfer and use of scientific knowledge and determine perceived barriers to knowledge exchange. Data were mainly collected from policy documents and evidence generating institutions. They include policy actors, coalitions and beliefs, occurrence and purpose of using scientific evidence in policy documents, push efforts towards policy makers, and barriers to knowledge exchange. They were mainly analysed through descriptive statistics using SPSS 16.0.
The climate change policy-making process was participatory with research and academic institutions mostly involved at the validation stage. However, at the formulation stage, scientific evidence has been highly used to prioritize strategies to address climate change. The content analysis has revealed that scientific input is the most frequent (48%), followed by input from ministries and input from NGO/CSO. This knowledge input generated by evidence generating institutions is transferred to policy makers through printed materials (60%) and meetings (50%). About 37% of them believe that policies and directions in the document are relevant and can lead to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Nevertheless, there are some barriers to climate change knowledge transfer and use. They range from lack of research funding (55%) to wrong perceptions of policy makers about scientists’ work (55%) and differences between scientists and policy makers in terms of too advanced knowledge produced (85%) with too technical approaches and methods (60%).
Among others, we suggest the collaboration of all evidence generating institutions to collect, centralize, and co-produce policy briefs in an accessible language to policy makers, the resourcing of existing science policy institutions to act really as boundary organizations where policy makers can consult researchers.