The 2019 joint event under the theme: Igniting Conversations About Science for Innovation with Impact, was held at the CSIR International Convention Centre from 4 to 6 December 2019 in Pretoria, South Africa.
SASSCAL staff including the Executive Director interacting with delegates at the SASSCAL exhibition Stand
SASSCAL hosted a successful and interactive exhibition stand at ‘the Innovation Bridge Technology Showcasing and Matchmaking Event and Science Forum South Africa (IBSFSA)’ from 4 to 6 December 2019. SASSCAL welcomed approximately 1200 visitors from various sectors such as scientists, government officials, industrial leaders, students and representatives from broader civil society. SASSCAL staff members fully engaged with delegates by showcasing SASSCAL’s products and services for three consecutive days. The forum provided a platform for all interested parties to ignite conversations on SASSCAL’s regional contribution to climate change action, SASSCAL’s institutional pillars of Research, Capacity Development and provision of services and products as well as funding mechanisms. In addition, SASSCAL demonstrated its WeatherNet application for participants who visited its stand. We treasure the networks built and links created between SASSCAL and the more than 1200 visitors at our exhibition stand.
SASSCAL had the opportunity to create a platform for vibrant discussions on the role of science; i.) to promote international science, technology and innovation partnerships; and ii.) to create a network platform for key science, technology and innovation actors, including academics, scientists, industry leaders, civil society, and students.
Aside from the exhibition stand, SASSCAL held a panel discussion on 6 December 2019, titled ‘International Partnerships for Climate Change Action’. The high-level panel discussion was led by Dr Jane M. Olwoch, SASSCAL’s Executive Director. The panel speakers were Dr Lisette Andreae, Head of Education, Science, Research and Technology at the German Embassy in Pretoria, Dr Jörg Helmschrot, SASSCAL’s Director of Science and Technology & Capacity Development and Ms. Hedwig Black, SASSCAL’s Namibia Node Programme officer.
The session facilitated discussions related to SASSCAL’s research activities and the importance of building regional and international partnerships to ensure effective adaptation and mitigation measures responding to Climate Change.
During the discussion the speakers highlighted how the partnership between SADC Member States and Germany through SASSCAL has produced excellent products in Research, Capacity Building and Service Provision for the region. In addition, the role of politicians and climate activists on the goal of climate change mitigation was emphasized.
The session also went on to explore and discuss the critical role that gender consideration plays in responding to climate change, as men and women have different roles in family, community and are likely to have different personal priorities and power over resources. Thus, improving adaptive capacity of both men and women is important in order to reduce vulnerability to climate change.
The panel concurred that international Partnership for Climate Action is required in recognition of the need for joint efforts for prioritizing a collective response to climate change impacts, Business as usual isn’t an option – we only have one planet.