The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will towards the end of February host a joint Ministerial Meeting of Science Services Centres of Southern and Western Africa. The high-level meeting of the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) and its sister organization, West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) will be held from 21 to 22 February 2023 in Berlin, Germany.
According to SASSCAL Executive Director, Dr Jane Olwoch, the event is aimed at commemorating the two institutions’ 10th anniversaries and hosting a joint Ministerial Council Meeting. It will culminate in the signing of a Berlin Declaration between the West African WASCAL Member States and the Southern African SASSCAL Member States and the BMBF. The tripartite Berlin Declaration is a reaffirmation of the long-term political and financial commitment to SASSCAL and WASCAL.
The SASSCAL and WASCAL Council of Ministers is the highest organ of these two institutions and is constituted by the Ministers responsible for SASSCAL and WASCAL in the Member States and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as the initial funding partner.
The Councils guide the political orientation of SASSCAL and WASCAL and endorse decisions related to the sustainable development of the institutions as a reference Science Service Centre in the southern and western African regions.
The Ministerial Meetings of both Councils are held every two years. The joint Council of Ministers meeting is expected to take place on the first day after the official event and will deliberate on the achievements, the current state of affairs and the outlook of the organizations.
The SASSCAL Council of Ministers comprises Hon. Maria do Rosário Bragança Sambo, Council Chairperson and Angolan Minister of Higher Education, Science Technology, and Innovation, Hon. Phildah Kereng, Council Vice-Chairperson and Botswana Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conversation and Tourism, Hon. Calle Gustav Schlettwein, Council Member and Namibian Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Hon. Felix Mutati, Council Member and Zambian Minister of Technology and Science, Hon. Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Council member and German Minister of Education and Research as well as Hon. Blade Nzimande, Council member and South Africa Minister of Science and Technology.
The official event will be marked by various statements to be delivered by Hon. Bettina Stark-Watzinger, German Federal Minister of Education and Research, SASSCAL’s Hon. Kereng, WASCAL’s Ministerial Council Chairperson and Mali Minister of Education and Research, H.E. Prof. Amadou Keita, SADC Executive Secretary, H.E. Elias M. Magosi, and ECOWAS Commission President Dr. Omar Alieu Touray.
The leadership of the two organizations’ Councils of Ministers, Board Members, senior employees and stakeholders, totaling about 100 participants are expected to attend the event.
The two institutions were established to strengthen the capacity of the southern and western regions for them to generate and use scientific products and services for decision-making on climate change and adaptive land management through research, human capital development and services brokerage.