SASSCAL Board Chairperson Mrs. Jane Chinkusu, Executive Director, Dr. Jane Olwoch and other invited high-level dignitaries from the Ministry of Economy and Planning, Ministry of Energy and Water, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Education, Ministry of RMPET, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology and Innovation as well as workshop participants pictured at the meeting

The Southern African Science Services Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) recently held a National Dialogue on Climate Change to engage high-level entities to reflect on national, regional, and international environmental policies and frame the roadmap agenda for COP 27 in Egypt.

The two-day high-level event, organised through the National Node of Angola in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation took place from 17 to 18 October 2022 in Huambo province in Angola. The dialogue discussed Capacity Development, Climate challenge, innovation and technical solutions and held panel discussions on the COP 27 agenda and the positive impact SASSCAL is making on Climate Change in southern Africa.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its report of 2021 raised a red flag on the current levels of climate change calling them catastrophic.

SASSCAL Board Chairperson, Mrs Jane Chinkusu said the dialogues will bring a lot of benefits in creating awareness on the work that SASSCAL is doing in the region as its contribution in mitigating the impacts of climate change. “Our region and the world at large is witnessing several threats associated with climate change and this calls for all of us to act so that we save our planet for continued existence of our society.

Investing in capacity building of our people and in research will surely guarantee the restoration of our planet as we know it,” she added. The high-level event also announced the commencement of the SASSCAL 2.0 Research Portfolio, which kicked off this year and will be operational until 2024.

According to SASSCAL Executive Director, Dr Jane Olwoch, the organization’s first Research Programme yielded many research outputs, some of which were converted into practical solutions such as one project in Angola whose results are being used to develop a new cropping calendar in the context of climate change.

The Human Capital Development Programme also continues to make a huge impact gauging by the 300 Post Graduate students who are either employed or are completing their further studies. The new PhD Program in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) hosted by Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) has attracted 12 students and three of them are from Angola.

Additionally, SASSCAL Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in the 5 member states of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa are in demand and are utilised by meteorology departments and researchers.

According to Dr. Olwoch, SASSCAL’s AWS were used by fellow researchers and scientists in Julich, Germany for their climate projections for the production of the Green Hydrogen Atlas.

Meanwhile, the Green Hydrogen project continues to profile SADC as a future hub of Green Hydrogen production and export to Europe and other continents.

On climate change, the Executive Director informed the participants on report of the IPCC saying “So, it is no longer about which nations emit the most Green House Gases but a demand for a united and stronger leadership in climate change. In my opinion, the debate should not even be about coal, oil, gas or renewable energy but about an effective solution. This would be my hope for COP 27 in Egypt,” she added.

The Dialogue brought together high-level government structures in Angola, as well as different actors who are part of the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation, stakeholders dealing with inter- and transdisciplinary issues in the field of environment and climate change to facilitate the knowledge transfer/sharing as well address the challenges facing these sectors.

From left to right: Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, André de Jesus Moda, Deputy Ministry for Energy, António Fernandes da Costa, Deputy Minister for Higher Education, Prof. Dr. Eugénio Adolfo Alves da Silva, Deputy Minister for Climate And Sustainable Development, Paula Coelho, National Director of Industrial Security, Emergency and Environment, Manuel Augusto Xavier Júnior and the General Director of the National Institute of Education Framework and training of the Ministry of Education during the panel discussion on the Impact of SASSCAL on climate change in southern Africa

Other participants to the dialogue included representatives of the Government of Huambo Province, Ambassadors of SASSCAL member states in Angola, Germany, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, and seven Ministers of State whose mandates are related to the environment and climate change.

National Directors of the different Ministries, Scientific Research and Development Institutions, as well as representatives of civil society organizations, were also in attendance.

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