Pictured at the workshop: Botswana Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism, Hon. Philda Nani Kereng (centre), German Ambassador to Botswana H.E. Margit Hellwig-Bötte, EU Delegation Head of Cooperation, Mr Clement Boutillier, SASSCAL Board Member, Ms Abigail Engleton, Executive Director Dr. Jane Olwoch and Director of Science, Technology and Capacity Development Dr Budzanani Tacheba

The Southern African Science Services Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) has hit the ground running again with its mission to amplify and enhance conversations and dialogue on climate change issues, this time with a focus on Botswana.

On the 27th of October 2022, the climate change and sustainable land management front-runner led the conversations among different experts and stakeholders. During the second day, the Botswana node office promoted SASSCAL products and services to the technical group in attendance.

While it was a strategic opportunity for SASSCAL to showcase its Research 2.0 Programme, which aims to promote the creation of knowledge and extension of science-related discovery on climate change and land management issues, the dialogue also centred  prominently on the  United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a framework for climate change dialogues, climate change focused national, regional and international policy as well as the agenda for the Conference of Parties (COP 27) currently underway in Egypt.

Officiating during the event, Botswana Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism, Hon. Philda Nani Kereng, who is also the Vice-Chairperson of SASSCAL Council of Ministers, commended SASSCAL for being swift to uptake the Climate Change dialogue, which was initiated about three months back during the previous SASSCAL board meeting.

She emphasized the aim of the event as seeking to discuss climate change issues in Botswana and outline Botswana’s position and priorities at the Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt meeting and to solve problems in Africa related to climate change and other shocks that affect national and continental development.

German Ambassador to Botswana H.E. Margit Hellwig-Bötte attended the dialogue and said the Climate Change conversation provided a good platform to warm up for COP 27 in Sharm-el-Sheik,  Egypt. “This year‘s climate negotiations will take place in a difficult environment because of the worldwide energy crisis.

We should remain ambitious and stick to the goal of reducing global warming to 1,5 degrees Celsius,” she emphasized. While assuring of Germany’s commitment to this goal and her country’s intention to increase its financial contribution from 5,3 billion (N$94.9 billion) to 6 billion Euro (N$ 107.46 billion), she stressed that climate negotiations should not become a victim of geopolitical polarization.

SASSCAL Executive Director, Dr Jane Olwoch assured participants that the organization’s climate change dialogues will become an annual event in all SASSCAL member countries henceforth. She also highlighted SASSCAL’s key achievements during SASSCAL 1.0 Research Programme.

Apart from Hon Philda Nani Kereng , H.E Hellwig-Botte, and Dr Jane Olwoch, the EU Delegation Head of Cooperation, Mr Clement Boutillier and a representative of the United States Embassy, Ms Phatsimo Kwenane, SASSCAL Board Member, Ms Abigail Engleton and some senior staff members participated at the dialogue.

Participants attending the SASSCAL Climate Change Dialogue in Botswana

The key discussion points  included but  not  limited  to the  following topics:

  • Demonstration of SASSCAL services on Capacity Development for products uptake;
  • Use of Earth Observation /Data Techniques for decision making;
  • Wetlands Monitoring Capacity Building for policy and management decisions;
  • Open Access data centre (OADC) capacity building and stakeholder engagements on primary products such as DRASA, RAINAPP etc;
  • SASCCAL data portals and services demonstration;
  • National Policy and COP 27 outlook;
  • Panel discussions with a keynote from prominent Climate Science/economists in each country;
  • The role of technology in climate change adaptation and mitigation;
  • Climate change and the WEF nexus; and
  • SASSCAL Call on Climate Challenges – Innovation and technology.

Botswana academia and industry partners who are participating in seven out of the 13 SASSCAL 2.0 research projects as Principal Investigators (PIs) and research leads through the University of Botswana, the Okavango Research Institute (ORI), Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN), and Kalahari Conservation Society (KCS) also took part in the dialogue.

The SASSCAL Climate Change Dialogue was recently concluded in Angola while the Namibian and Zambian events are slated to take place in November 2022.

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