Ministers of WASCAL member states meet in Berlin with BMBF Minister Wanka


July 09, 2015.  

Ministers of the 10 West African WASCAL member states met in Berlin today with Germany's federal Minister for Education and Research (BMBF), Ms. Johanna Wanka, to discuss the future of the Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL).

At this high-level ministerial meeting it was agreed upon that the WASCAL member states in West Africa will operate and finance the Center themselves in the near furture, by raising their own funds and cooperate more closely with ECOWAS. It was also decided, that the following countries will join WASCAL: Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

In an interview with the German radio channel Deutschlandfunk (see link below) ZEF-director Christian Borgemeister said that "West and Southern Africa will suffer in particular from the impact of climate change such as raising temperatures and uncertain rainfall". He also pointed out that Africa has been left far behind in terms of investment in international climate research. Especially in the field of climate prognoses Africa lacks research capacities. Here comes in WASCAL with building local research capacities. An important research question is how rain-fed agriculture can adapt to change. One option is revitalizing traditional and local knowledge of the farmers themselves.

Over the past decades, maize has substituted millet as staple food in West Africa."This switch to maize was also driven by economic interests", tells Borgemeister. "From the point of view of climate change, maize is not an ideal cereal - on the contrary. There are other types that are much more adapted to the arid conditions in West Africa such as sorghum and millet. And that is part of the local knowledgebase".

Read more in the German press release of BMBF:

www.bmbf.de/_media/press/PM_0709-095.pdf

Interview with ZEF-director Christian Borgemeister in national radio channel "Deutschlandfunk" 

 

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