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Source: Moussa Waongo


Climate change and its impact on countries, ecosystems, people and their livelihoods has been a topic most intensively and controversially discussed in science and public over the last years. The consequences for ecological and socio-economic processes and, thus for the suitability of land for farming, grazing, and natural vegetation, is particularly relevant for West Africa, one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. This is mostly due to the high dependence on natural resources and the agricultural sector for incomes and livelihoods, the rapid population growth, as well as the growing poverty and food insecurity in many West African countries, resulting in a limited adaptation capacity of the region to climate change and increasing climate variability.

To meet this challenge, West African and German scientists have developed the WASCAL project, an initiative supported by the Federal Ministry of Education & Research (BMBF). It aims to establish a West African Regional Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use with the objective to generate and bring together knowledge and expertise and to enhance the predictive capability in the West African region to cope with climate change. The WASCAL project involves three major tasks:

Task 1, the establishment of a Competence Center in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso;
Task 2, an accompanying Core Research Program organized in different clusters of research activities to be carried out in the southern Sudanian savanna belt of West Africa; and
Task 3, a Graduate Program with Graduate Schools on various priority research areas related to climate change and located at West African lead universities.

Coordinated by the Center for Development Research (ZEF),  University of Bonn, WASCAL embraces a large German research consortium and many partners from the West African research community. Core German partners in WASCAL’s climate research is KIT/IMK-IFU and the University of Augsburg. Prof. Dr. Harald Kunstmann and his group contribute to Task 1 (overall coordination of observation networks, climate network) at IMK-IFU/KIT, and to Task 2 (the development of a Core Research Program for the Climate Subcluster) and to Task 3  (the Graduate School Program) at the University of Augsburg. For more information on Task 2 and 3 see also www.geo.uni-augsburg.de/en/professorships/regklima/Projekte/WASCAL/



Pressemitteilung BMBF 128/2010, 14.07.2010: Deutsche und afrikanische Forscher starten Klima-Initiative – Ministerin kündigt Aufbau regionaler Kompetenzzentren in Afrika an (http://www.bmbf.de/press/2907.php)

Pressemitteilung Universität Bonn, 14.07.2010: Wissen schafft Kompetenz: Afrika und Deutschland erforschen gemeinsam Klimawandel und Landnutzung. Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung ZEF der Universität Bonn leitet den Aufbau eines Kompetenzzentrums in Westafrika im Rahmen der "Regional Science Service Centers" Initiative (http://www.kooperation-international.de/countries/themes/nc/info/detail/data/49161/)