After a decade of the organization’s establishment and implementation of its first Research Portfolio, the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) will be moving into its second phase of research this month. The regional organization will  launch SASSCAL 2.0 Research Programme on 22 – 23 March 2023 at the Regional Secretariat in Windhoek, Namibia.

The 5-year programme will implement 13 approved projects in line with SASSCAL’s five thematic areas of agriculture, water, biodiversity, climate and forestry. The theme of the launch is “Towards impactful research outcomes for climate adaptation and mitigation in the Southern Africa region”, in recognition of the opportunities that will be gained.

Executive Director, Dr Jane Olwoch is very optimistic about the relevance and timeliness of the programme. “SASSCAL 2.0 will implement the following projects: SUSTAIN, FoSRECs, RIBS, ELNAC, TIPPEECC, ANTELOPE, WIRE, FRAME, Climate Smart Crops, Properties Plants, ANGSOILS, VRPE and Beekeeping to the tune of about EUR 8.6 million” she said.

These projects consist of academic research partners and government institutions working on climate change and related sectors in the six SASSCAL member states namely Angola, Botswana, Germany, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. SASSCAL 2.0 aims to address the imminent challenges posed by climate change, and to improve Southern Africa regional integration in scientific research. The portfolio was conceptualized to enhance internationally recognized research programmes, intensify continental and global engagement by developing and expanding international research collaboration, building sustainable multinational partnerships, and addressing global challenges through international development projects.

The Research Programme will enhance skills, build institutional and human capacity in scientific research and establish long-term collaborations that work towards a scientific understanding of climate change from a mitigation and adaptation perspective. Research Products and services shall be generated in the process. It supports research that advances diversity and inclusivity that leads to an increased understanding of cultures and communities within the region and across Africa making it the kind of research that involves local people and intends to improve the quality of their lives.

Its predecessor – SASSCAL 1.0 Research Programme was implemented between 2012 and 2018, during which it generated 88 research tasks and 230 peer-reviewed publications. It produced a number of graduates including 227 Bachelors and Master’s degrees, and 33 doctorates during its implementation phase. SASSCAL Council of Ministers, Ambassadors, SASSCAL’s initial and main funder – the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), representatives of SASSCAL Member States, international and regional partners, SASSCAL 2.0 implementing Principal Investigators and researchers, are expected to attend the launch, which will draw a roll-out plan and symbolize commitment by all parties.

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