Various media houses convened at the SASSCAL Regional Secretariat on 21 May 2019 for the SASSCAL Press Conference. The aim of the Press Conference was to inform a wider audience about the launch of the SASSCAL II research programme as well as the establishment of the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Post Graduate Programme. The Press Release was delivered by Prof Rene Haak – Head of Division 723, Global Change and Germany Board Member. The panel for the press conference was constituted by Prof Rene Haak, Hon Anna Shiweda – SASSCAL Deputy Board chair and Deputy Minister – Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry was represented by Mr Joseph Hailwa – Director Forestry and Dr Jane Olwoch – SASSCAL Executive Director.

Prof Haak informed the media of the importance of research in the region as a key driver to addressing the challenges of climate change. He stated that the launch of SASSCAL II is a further task contributes to the Paris agreement. As highlighted by the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), underpinned by the previous United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences of the Parties (UNFCCC COPs) and agreement by signing the Paris Agreement, there is consensus among governments, decision makers and researchers that climate change is an imminent threat to societies and the environment is calling  for  scientifically informed mitigation and adaptation actions, policies and strategies around the world. To address challenges and threats posed by climate variability and change, decision makers at all levels need scientifically sound information and knowledge to develop adaption and mitigation strategies and to sustainably develop the southern African environment, economies and societies.

Prof Haak invited researchers , NGOs, farmers and the entire scientific community to take advantage of SASSCAL II  research programme Call to make meaningful contribution towards addressing the effects of climate change. He further urged potential funding recipients to forge partnerships within the region to ensure regionality representation of their projects; partnerships across various disciplines  to ensure multi-disciplinary and cross cutting projects are developed as well as forge relationships with Germany Institutions.

The overarching goal of this SASSCAL II Call is to provide scientific inputs into SASSCAL’s strategic research framework that builds on the achievements of the first phase of SASSCAL and is in alignment with the SASSCAL Mandate. The SASSCAL research framework addresses regional research needs and imperatives within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, the AU 2063 Vision and Action Plan, the African global change research initiatives, national policies as well as the various SADC action and development plans, especially on science, technology and innovation as well as on climate change.

Germany is committed for a long term in the region stated Prof Haak. The Conference of the Parties (COP) has highlighted the need for more experts to address global challenges. To respond to this call SASSCAL with funding from BMBF in collaboration with the Namibia University of Science and Technology NUST are in the process of introducing an IWRM Graduate Programme. Prof Haak stated that the IWRM Programme will be launched in the very near future.

Press Conference Panel_ From Left: Mr Joseph Hailwa, Prof Rene Haak and Dr Jane Olwoch

Mr Joseph Hailwa advised the various media houses present that MAWF’s mandate is to ensure  food production and food security as well as water management supply and security. He thus called on the entire research community especially young researchers to embrace the call to develop systems and mechanisms to assist the country and the region in climate adaption. ‘Funding is not easy to get, this is your chance young people and you need to be keen to investigate how best the region can cope’ he added. Mr Hailwa confirmed MAWF’s support for SASSCAL as well as further committed towards the payment of the country contributions to ensure SASSCAL’s sustainability. He also thanked Germany for their support towards the regional Initiative.

Compiled by SASSCAL Communications and Marketing


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