German Government invests 1 mil Euro in regional climate science

September 23, 2015, 12:57pm


The German Government has invested Euros 1 million (about N.dollars 15 million) to cover the costs of the National Node, as well as the operations of the regional secretariat of Sasscal in Namibia.

The Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (Sasscal) is a joint initiative of Angola; Botswana; Namibia; South Africa; Zambia; and Germany, responding to the challenges of global climate change.

Namibia will host the regional secretariat in the capital. Speaking at a Sasscal board meeting on Monday, board member Rene Haak from Department 723 Global Change at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) noted that the contribution made to the centre is part of Germany's obligation to contribute to the fight against the effects of climate change.

"The decision has been made to show you as our partners that we are fully committed to our common initiative. But ownership requires also that our partners take responsibility and make contribution to the development of the institution. Otherwise, it will not survive and BMBF is not willing to pay the costs for the next 50 years," he noted.

BMBF is expected to pull out as donors by July 2016 and will hand over responsibilities to the country partners, according to Haak. BMBF also allocated Sasscal additional funds of up to Euros 10 million (about N.dollars 150 million) for research activities up to 2020 under the condition that Sasscal prepares and submit by the end of this year or beginning of next an adopted integrated science plan.

During the meeting, board members should agree on the contribution of each member to activities in partner countries, but also to sustain the running of the regional secretariat, which will give more visibility to Sasscal. Haak emphasised that his ministry has made provisions for construction plans in all five countries, which will start soon.

Meanwhile, speaking at the same occasion, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa commended the funding from the German Government to the centre. However, he raised the concern that funding from the German Government will reduce from 2017 onwards, and that partner countries should make their own financial contributions on an equal basis to cover for the expenses of the centre.

“Mindful of the fact that the Federal Republic of Germany’s funding will start to reduce from 2017 onwards, by 25 per cent per annum, it is the understanding that the five member states will have to continue to make financial allocations, on an equal basis to cover the said amount; ideally on the basis of the already adopted Sasscal funding formula,” Mutorwa noted.

On the part of the Namibian Government, N.dollars 22 million was made available for the earthworks and construction of the Sasscal regional headquarters here, the minister said.

This is in addition to the availing of land and the cost paid to the architect, Nina Maritz Architects. It is expected that the regional secretariat is completed by 2018.

It will be located behind the Windhoek High School (WHS) and close to the National Botanic Garden of Namibia. Sasscal will improve the capacities to provide sound science-based solutions for current problems and future risks in the region, in particular regarding climate change and the associated demands concerning land management practices of local players.

To this end, the centre will contribute to strengthening existing and developing new capacities for application-oriented scientific research and science-policy consultations on climate change, adapted land-use and sustainable development in the region.