The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Southern African Science Services Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL), and the Western African Science Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Use (WASCAL), represented by Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Honourable Phildah Kereng and Honourable Amadou Keita respectively, have signed a Joint Declaration of Intent to mitigate the effects of climate change in Africa.
The signing ceremony was held in Berlin, Germany, during the SASSCAL – WASCAL Joint Ministerial Event from 21 – 22 February 2023 to celebrate the 10-year anniversaries of the two African regional science service centres.
The Joint Declaration of Intent highlights the need for collaborative efforts to improve the projected effects of climate change on African regions’ socio-economic growth and present working mechanisms to policymakers on land use that will help counter these effects. Such partnership is expected to encourage and promote research and innovation at the regional and national levels.
According to H.E. Stark-Watzinger, the Joint Declaration of Intent will advance future partnership cooperation in the academic and research sector and operationalise research infrastructure in the Western and Southern African regions.
The Chairperson of the Ministerial Council of WASCAL and Mali Republic’s Minister of Higher Education and Research, Honourable Keita, emphasised that the fight against climate change needs a more robust regional integration.
Furthermore, the declaration would also facilitate understanding how SASSCAL and WASCAL can make progressive headways in achieving their aims and goals across the continent. While the agencies acknowledged the Paris Agreement and the Sharm-el-Sheikh implementation plan, they also raised serious concerns about the gap between current levels of adaptation and the levels needed to respond to the adverse effects of climate change.
On the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Honourable Kereng underscored the various achievements of SASSCAL in the past decade, which included 88 research tasks focusing on climate, water, forestry, agriculture and biodiversity. The project comprised 230 peer-reviewed publications and produced 227 undergraduate and postgraduate candidates and 33 doctorates. In addition, the Honourable commended the Green Hydrogen Programme embarked on by SASSCAL.
The anniversary event featured the Joint Ministerial Council Meeting attended by the SASSCAL and WASCAL Council of Ministers and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The event also held a Networking conference where two heads of institutions pitched to various high-level Ministers, Board Members, Ambassadors, partner organisations and stakeholders.
Finally, the Ministers and their delegates ended the conference by visiting the Bundestag (German Federal Parliament) to discuss further collaborative areas and sectors where African leaders and the German government can work together to promote prosperity on the continent.