Need to strengthen SASSCAL’s capacity

20 October 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

To build on the achievements of the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptative Land Management (SASSCAL), there is a need to continue strengthening its capacity to make it a more effective and efficient institution.

This will only be possible if member states continue to honour their financial obligations towards the operations of the Institution.

This is according to deputy agriculture minister Anna Shiweda, who was speaking at the opening of the second ordinary meeting of the council of ministers of SASSCAL. The meeting was held virtually.

“We are fully aware that all our national economies are going through difficult and challenging times due to the impact of Covid-19. However, where possible, we should try to find room to accommodate SASSCAL on our priority lists of programmes and projects,” Shiweda said.

At the council’s first meeting, held last year in Windhoek, a resolution was taken to transform SASSCAL into an international organisation.

“According to the treaty, this can only be realised if all member states sign and ratify the treaty. It is, therefore, imperative for us as ministers of SASSCAL to fast-track the process of ratification.”

Climate change

Shiweda further said climate change remains a global challenge.

Given the existential threat of this phenomenon to the environment and humanity, global citizens are left with no other option but to adapt to climate change and find ways to mitigate and minimise its impact.

“For this reason, SASSCAL is a relevant and important institution as it will assist our government to strengthen and fine-tune our policies and strategies to reduce the impact of climate change and climate variability.”

Shiweda added that it crucial for ministers of SASSCAL to continue providing adequate policy guidance and support in order to make it a robust institution in the area of climate change.

She said a stronger SASSCAL would put its member states in a better position to contribute significantly towards the realisation of the objectives of the Paris Declaration on Climate Change, and to the attainment of the targets of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Water management

“Namibia takes note of the progress made, and the achievements attained by SASSACL since its inception. We also appreciate the benefits that member states derived from the SASSACAL programmes and projects so far.”

She highlighted one of the benefits Namibia accrued from the research portfolio, namely the School on Integrated Water Resources Management, which was established at the Namibia University for Science and Technology, and said this would soon be transformed into a Centre of Excellence for the SADC Region.

“I am delighted to announce that the first PhD programme was launched on 11 October. While this school will serve all SASSCAL member states, Namibia is honoured to host it.”

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