African Scientists Deliberate on Climate Change Adaptation. Story By: Tina Amstrong-Ogboona

Cross Section of Participants

Cross Section of Participants

LAGOS-NIGERIA As the Africa continent continue to grapple with the drastic effect of climate change which is increasingly affecting the life of the people, scientists within the continent are finding ways to collate necessary data towards ameliorating negative impact of climate change.

The Network of African Science Academies NASAC in partnership with the Germany Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, held a two day workshop in Yaounde hosted by the Cameroon Academy of Sciences.

The workshop focused on the role of science academics and the scientific community in the development of climate change adaptation strategies in Africa.

The Programme Director of NASAC Jackie Olang said it was necessary for African scientists to contribute to public debates on policy in Africa that are science-based, which will guide policy makers in formulating policies on climate change adaptation in the area of health, water management, agriculture, forestry, and urban development.

Jackie Olang said the synergy between NASAC and the Germany Academy of Sciences is to exchange research ideas and innovation that would impact positively on Africans as there are nineteen countries within the continent that are members of the network.

The Executive Secretary of the Cameroon Academy of Sciences Dr. David Mbah said science diplomacy is needed in Africa to develop the continent as no country develop without the input of science and technology.

Dr. Mbah called for international collaboration between African scientists and global powers such as the G8 and the G20 countries.

The Director of Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research in Germany and Co- Author of the recent World Bank report “Turn Down the Heat” Professor Hans Schellnhuber, in his presentation on the climate change challenge said the history of global carbon emission originate from the need for global industrialization which impact was not immediate.

Professor Schellnhuber pointed out that as the impact of climate change are transboundary those that are far from the area of emission get to suffer for what they never contributed to. He sited the case of melting of the ice sheet, where it result to increased sea level rise and flooding far from the area of occurrence.

Professor Schellnhuber explained that if the 5-sigma model relative to climatology occurs, Africa maybe faced with a monsoon that will affect the west African region. He called for the use of clean energy through renewable sources that would reduce dependence on fossil fuel.

The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Academy of Sciences, Dr. Doyin Odubanjo observed that there is rather no research in the area of health implication as a result of climate change. He called for a field-based research that would identify health needs due to to climate change impact, this he recommended was necessary because in health there is no mitigation but adaptation.

According to Dr. Odubanjo, for Africans to adapt to climate change effect in relation to health, there is need for strengthening the health system. Furthermore, he lamented that health as a thematic area under climate change debate has been long overlooked but if urgent and strategic plans are not made, there would be much damage resulting from health effect due to climate change.

The Chair, Technical and Political Affairs Committee, Pan-Africa Climate Justice Alliance PACJA, Mr. Augustine Njamnshi, explained that Africa is the worst hit by the impact of climate change and believes that the solution to climate change will come from the continent. Mr. Njamnshi said the kind of technology brought to Africa from other parts of the world should be reviewed. This is important because such technology should be indigenous with the input of African scientists.

To this end, Mr. Njamnshin pledged that PACJA as an organization that works on the field and knows how Africans are been affected by climate change, will work with the Africa Academy of Science to combat climate change.

The participants recommended that current information for different levels of development is needed to implement policies that would enable the African continent adapt to climate change impact, and there should be support collaboration between scientists and political decision makers.

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