WASCAL an international organization now

December 05, 2013.  

After six out of ten of the WASCAL participating West African states and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have recognized WASCAL's constitution recently, the program obtained the official status of an 'international organization'. WASCAL is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and coordinated at ZEF.

Creating sustainable research infrastructure – enhancing climate competence in West Africa

The goal is that West African states can make their own decisions on sustainable land and water use based on climate relevant research findings. “Research projects usually have a limited time line. As a consequence, researchers but also their findings and research infrastructure often leave the study region after finishing the project behind. With the establishment of WASCAL as a regional international organization we want to ensure access to research findings and infrastructure in West Africa in the long term”, explains Paul Vlek, Director at WASCAL and the Center for Development Research in Bonn. Moreover, by recognizing the WASCAL agreement, the participating West African countries will start to contribute financially to WASCAL’s budget from 2013 onwards. “In the future, WASCAL will be a common resource for the West African States, funded by the participating countries and international donors”, Vlek states.

Data, experts and research infrastructure for West Africa

Climate change poses a real challenge to West African states. Although Africa is the continent with the lowest pollutant emissions, climate change is expected to hit the continent with severe consequences. Currently, there is a lack of reliable and comprehensive data on climate change as well as of technical infrastructure and experts to pool and analyze the data for the West African sub-continent. Therefore, WASCAL focuses on three main components: 1) Strengthening human capacity through education within ten regional Graduate Research Programs set up in partnerships with West African universities. 2) In an interdisciplinary research program, German and West African researchers investigate questions of climate change and land use in relation to ecosystem services and food security in West Africa. 3) A Competence Center which has been established in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, pools scientific data and provides advisory services to politicians and stakeholders.

WASCAL recognized by Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Niger and Togo

WASCAL was initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in a joint effort with the governments and ministries of the ten participating West African countries. Next to the states Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Ghana, Niger, and Togo who already officially recognized WASCAL, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal are participating. The planning phase started in 2010 and the implementation phase in 2012. WASCAL is funded by the BMBF with a total of 50 Million Euros until 2016 and coordinated by the Center of Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn. Next to the West African partners the WASCAL research network comprises several German partner institutions.

Further information: www.wascal.org



Jelana Vajen


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