12 Jul 2013 11:19

WINDHOEK, July 11 (Bernama) -- Members of the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) have been urged to finalise a formula for their contributions to the organisation to equalise benefits among partner countries.

SASSCAL is a joint initiative involving Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Germany, Namibian Press Agency NAMPA reported.

Germany signed a joint declaration in April 2012 with the five southern African countries to support cross-border research into climate change and land management. Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa said during the SASSCAL inaugural board meeting on Wednesday that members' commitment to contribute financially towards SASSCAL's operations would not only help reduce the burden carried by Germany, but equalise contributions and distribution of benefits among partner countries.

Member countries also need to explore innovative new approaches on how to better prepare for the effects of climate change and its impact on the globe, said Mutorwa.

"It is therefore imperative to strike for economic development and growth on the one hand and sustainable development on the other.

"In southern Africa, there is a need for a strong leadership and diligent execution of plans to deal with issues related to sustainable development and to reduce the impact of natural disasters," he said.

Speaking at the same occasion, SASSCAL board member from Germany, Petra Wolff, said the institution is now up and running and her country is in the process of handing it over to its African partners.

"We are working on a system to hand over to our African partners because we wanted it to have African ownership," she said.

The 50 million euros (US$65.12 million) institution is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for the first four years of operation.