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The intersection of climate variability, extremes, and long-term change with rapid urbanisation, extensive informality, multi-level governance challenges, and resource constraints, constitutes a critical human health challenge in African cities. Yet a comprehensive and systemic understanding of the intersection of climate hazards and urban health risks is limited in the African context, constraining planning, and effective interventions. 

In response, the Cascading Climate and Health Risks in Cities (CASCADE) project brings together a team of diverse disciplinary experts in partnership with policy makers and practitioners to advance Africa’s response to urban climate and health risk. This is achieved through: (a) innovative research across natural and social sciences to build rich inter-disciplinary evidence; and (b) transdisciplinary research engagement that acknowledges the complexity of urban health challenges and will facilitate the necessary learning beyond the disciplines while building trusting and sustained relationships across the science policy interface. These objectives are linked and work within CASCADE is focused on collaborative, co-production of activities working across organisations and geographic areas.

To this end CASCADE will develop and enhance sustainable science capacity, networks, and the leadership required to tackle these research challenges at scale across African universities beyond the lifetime of the project, while simultaneously informing planning interventions. 

A systems approach that encompasses intersecting health system risks, interventions and outcomes is required to develop comprehensive understanding that can guide effective research and interventions. To this end, CASCADE aims to build understanding on urban climate-health risk pathways, urban climate-health interventions, urban climate heath governance.

CASCADE is structured through three research streams (1. urban climate health risk pathways; 2. Urban climate health interventions; and 3. Urban climate heath governance) guided by three overarching research questions and sub-questions. These questions are designed to effectively integrate the Climate and Planetary Health and Social Sciences & Humanities research priorities of the DELTAS II programme. 

To kick things off, the CASCADE inception workshop was hosted by the Climate System Analysis Group in November 2023. The two-day workshop brought together the CASCADE consortium members for the first time. The aim of the workshop was to 1. enhance understanding and strengthen collaboration between consortium members; 2. understand the needs and requirements of partner institutions; and 3. to agree on ways forward in terms of work plans based on CASCADE’s overarching research themes, and goals for capacity development. With the ongoing progress of scholars developing proposals and multiple city-level engagements gaining momentum, CASCADE activities are well underway. The consortium looks forward to working together in an inclusive and collaborative environment. 

Partner institutes: The Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG), University of Cape Town; Global Change Institute, University of Witwatersrand; Infectious Diseases Institute, Makerere University; University of Ghana; Chinhoyi University of Technology; Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre; START International; African Population and Health Research Centre

Funder: Science for Africa Foundation (SFA Foundation)

For further details contact the Project Coordinator on or the Project PI on 

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