SASSCAL research projects materialise
Formulations of research projects of the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) have now been finalised. This was revealed by Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa during the inaugural board meeting of the centre held this week.
An initiative grown out of previous science initiatives in Southern Africa, SASSCAL is a joint initiative of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Germany, responding to the challenges of global change. The establishment of the centre is in line with international climate change conventions, declarations and existing research.
Speaking during the inaugural meeting, Mutorwa said that there is need to explore innovative new approaches based on science, on how to better prepare for the effects of climate change and its impacts on the globe. “When designing and planning our programme and projects, we need to constantly ask ourselves the following question; How do we use the natural resources at our disposal more efficiently without increasing the risk of natural disasters? Therefore, when striving for economic development and growth, it is imperative for us to strike a good balance between economic growth on the one hand and sustainable development on the other,” said Mutorwa.
Mutorwa expressed gratitude towards the German government which will be responsible for funding the SASSCAL activities for the next five years. The minister however urged all partners of the initiative to commit themselves to the success of the centre and equally contribute to the achievements of the objectives of the centre as this will equalise the distribution of benefits among partner countries.
A series of round-table meetings, national stakeholder and technical workshops were held across the region to solicit input from a range of stakeholders into the design of the initiative. Five areas for research and training were identified during the workshops, namely climate, water, forestry, agriculture land-use and biodiversity.
One major component of the centre is capacity development which will help guide policy makers and involve students at masters’ level who will work closely together with established scientists. A master plan will be set up to establish different components of courses offered at all universities of the hosting countries. This will help ensure that qualifications are tailor made for individuals. The initiative also aims to empower local stakeholders to develop and implement their own knowledge-based solutions, including advice for policy makers.