WASCAL engages anglophone ECOWAS countries

The West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) has engaged its stakeholders drawn from the Anglophone countries within ECOWAS.

The workshop, sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and Education in Germany (BMBF) is the third sub-regional engagement to build a regional research agenda that reflects the needs of West Africans.

The meeting was held in Accra last week, at the Headquarters.

According to the Executive Director of WASCAL Dr. Laurent Sedogo, the first two consultative meetings were held in Dakar and Cotonou specifically to engage all the Francophone countries within the region.

Speaking at the opening of the two-day workshop Dr. Sedogo said WASCAL is committed to being the unique regional research centre that will generate authentic data to feed national and regional policy initiative.

“From our capacity building programme to our research arm and the climate service services unit, we aim at pursuing demand-driven activities that are relevant to needs of the people we are serving,” Dr. Sedogo indicated.

Touting the achievements of WASCAL, Dr Sedogo said “WASCAL has chalked modest successes in the area of research and capacity building efforts. Through our capacity building programme WASCAL has trained over one hundred and fifty postgraduate students (at the Masters and PhD levels) and recently awarded scholarships to a new batch of about one hundred students.”

Dr. Sedogo again noted that in order to make WASCAL’s research relevant to the ECOWAS region, it commissioned these national and regional consultative meetings to garner the invaluable inputs of stakeholders to its research agenda for 2017-2020.

“WASCAL is now poised to take the leadership role in the area of climate change and adapted land use research, and advocate science-based adaptation and mitigation strategies that will enhance the resilience of human and environmental systems to the threat of climate change,” Sedogo observed.

In his keynote address, The Deputy Head of Mission and Head of the Economic Section of the German Embassy, Mr. Bernhard Abels, hinted that the threat of climate change and climate variability to humanity’s collective well-being is more evident now than ever.

According to Mr. Abels, the effects of climate change and climate variability in the last two decades, especially for smallholder farmers are enormous.

He indicated that Germany is of the firm belief that working together West African partners can significantly reduce the effects of the alarming phenomenon.

This means strengthening the cooperation between Germany and West Africa in terms of research and exploring science-based solutions to the common problems that affect us, he noted.

In line with this objective, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany (BMBF) has invested an amount of €30million in the work of WASCAL over a five year period.

The amount, is expected to be used infrastructure, scientific equipment, capacity building and research undertaken by German and African scientists.