Accra, March 27, GNA – The West African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) has been inaugurated in Accra to provide evidence base information to support sustainable adaptation and mitigation of climate change effect in West Africa.
WASCAL is also to help the region to build resilience to climate change through the provision of the necessary scientific evidence and policy briefs on sustainable management of the environment.
The Centre, located at the premises of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Accra, was inaugurated by Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Minister of State at the Presidency, on behalf of Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur on Friday.
WASCAL was established in 2012 by 10 West African countries namely, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, the Gambia, Senegal and Benin while the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany funded the infrastructure, to assist in the scientific study and research into climate change issues.
The Centre among other things, is to assist policy and decision makers in design and implementation of land use patterns at watershed level that ensure the provision of the essential ecosystem services while supporting the livelihoods of local communities.
It is also to help educate the next generation of scientists and policy makers that have intimate knowledge of the different climate related issues that can help the region in developing suitable coping strategies.
In a speech read on his behalf, Vice President Amissah-Arthur described WASCAL as a very important developmental tool through which science and education could interface to find appropriate responses to the phenomenon of climate change and its attendant adverse effects on the livelihood of people.
‘For the millions of people and our sub-region, WASCAL is a source of hope that our environment can be managed in a sustainable manner to ensure their future and our generations yet unborn’.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur said climate change is a threat to the basic foundation of the lives of people, adding that about 80 per cent of the populations depended on agriculture and that the exploitation of and use of natural resources for their livelihood and agriculture contribute about 50 per cent of GDP of most countries.
He noted that in Ghana, the current power crisis being experienced was partly the creation of climate change.
He therefore commended the German government for it support towards WASCAL and gave assurance that Ghana would continue to support WASCAL to ensure that the ECOWAS region collectively benefited from its work.
Mr Wilfried Kraus, Director in charge of WASCAL at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in Germany said the German government was committed to the programme and it was prepare to support the first phase of WASCAL scheduled for the end of 2016, with 50 million Euros to advance the course of climate change research and capacity building in the West Africa.
He said another WASCAL Competence Centre has been built in Ouagadougou, which host the climate research and climate service programmes while the capacity building programmes would be coordinated from WASCAL in Ghana.