WASCAL Ministerial Conference.

Together against climate change

At the end of July, the third WASCAL Ministerial Conference took place in Accra, the capital of Ghana. It was about the progress of climate change, its consequences and how West African farmers can react to growing changes in conditions, especially the deteriorating soil.

Her Excellency Mrs Anja Karliczek, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, met with representatives of the eleven West African member states. The talks did not only focus on sustainable economic models, but also on the presentation of the new WASCAL Research Agenda Plan (WRAP 2.0) research programme and the fourth WASCAL academic year, the financing of which was signed at the end of June by Klaus Uckel, Head of the DLR Project Management Organisation (DLR-PT) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF).

DLR-PT has been a constant partner of the WASCAL research initiative for nine years. From the concept phase at the beginning of 2010 through the preliminary and implementation phases, to the current start of the second research phase – the colleagues around team and spokesperson Gabin Ananou were always there. DLR—PT in cooperation with the BMBFhas succeeded in establishing a multilateral network of West African and German institutions and companies.

WASCAL is based on three pillars: the Competence Centre, where climate data is being collected regionally and made freely accessible since the start of the project; the Research Programme, which is currently entering its second phase and is being funded by the BMBF with a total of ten million euros; and the Graduate Programme, which is due to begin in September and will give the new 132 scholarship holders the opportunity to spend four years researching “Sustainable land management under the influence of land use and climate change”, which is also being funded by the BMBF with almost eleven million euros.

At the end of June, DLR PT Director Klaus Uckel signed the corresponding grant agreement on behalf of the BMBF, which gives the African partners financial security until 2023. There is a new  role for the project-executing agency:

 “For many years we have closely accompanied the establishment of WASCAL for the BMBF and implemented the funding of the German WASCAL cooperation partner, the Centre for Development Research at the University of Bonn. Institutionally, WASCAL is now largely on its own feet. The focus of our work is therefore shifting towards administrative support. In addition, we make sure that the funds paid by the BMBF reach where they belong,” Dr. Klaus Uckel  said.

WASCAL stands for “West African Science Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use”. Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Ghana, Cape Verde, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo are among the member states. The WASCAL Ministerial Conference meets every two years to reflect, discuss and make decisions on the current and future development of the WASCAL institution. The structure of WASCAL consists of the head office in Accra and a research competence centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. BMBF funding for the African project partners currently totals 25.5 million euros.

Contact at the DLR project management organisation:

Gabin Ananou

Department: Climate Strategies and International Cooperation

E-mail: gabin.ananou@dlr.de

Link to the BMBF press release: