The Head of Division “Global Change” at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Prof. Rene Haak has stated that one of the key aims of the international cooperation between Germany and Africa is to strengthen the science base in Africa by supporting local capacities and developing and combining their respective scientific joint efforts.

In his speech he said, “with the support of my Ministry, WASCAL enhanced the visibility of science from Africa into the international scientific networks and into long-lasting cooperation between African and German universities and research institutes.” He was speaking at the opening session of the inaugural edition of the WASCAL Science Symposium in Accra. Prof. Haak acknowledged that WASCAL had provided a great supporting role by setting up and coordinating new integrated regional research activities in the area of sustainable land use, water resource management, Biodiversity, renewable Energy, agriculture, human security, climate systems and economics with the latest focus on data management and Marine research.

Prof. Haak urged WASCAL to intensify in their cooperation efforts with national, regional and international partners. “As we move on he said, WASCAL needs to become stronger in interacting with policy makers and other regional and national authorities by providing scientifically-sound and realistic options for making land management resilient to climate change.”

He further emphasized BMBF’s immense contribution towards the success of WASCAL and its sister organization, SASSCAL. “As BMBF, we try to support our partners from Africa in building up scientific structures and educational and research capacities in a variety of ways. The two Climate Competence Centres – WASCAL and SASSCAL – are cornerstones of our collaboration in the areas of academic education, research cooperation and research infrastructure.”

“WASCAL, for example, has made considerable progress in increasing the density of measuring networks through cross-border planning and installing automatic weather stations in the region. The data obtained is made directly available for service development through the WASCAL Data Initiative WADI at the Competence Centre. It is also used in WASCAL partner countries where we implement the regional research programme. In this way, the countries are establishing a joint regional basis; for example, for cross-border early warning systems in the event of floods or for the coordinated observation of changes in land use.” He stated.

He also entreated partner countries to show commitment by giving to WASCAL and SASSCAL, a long-term perspective through their involvement in regional cooperation structures; linking them up with national research institutions and programs and, by providing own funding for their operations. We have established WASCAL and SASSCAL with this aim in mind, and I can assure you that, in this spirit, we will continue to be a reliable partner for West Africa and beyond this, for the entire African continent.

He finally exalted that the Symposium will offer interesting presentations and ideas and that will give exciting insights into the fruits of German-African research cooperation. The WASCAL Science Symposium is the maiden event of WASCAL that seeks to showcase the achievements of the organization and interact with global scientists in the fight against climate change in West Africa.