During the fourth day of the 1st GMES and Africa Support Programme Forum, taking place in Libraville, Gabon, regional economical centres and GMES and Africa consortia engaged in regional discussions for southern Africa.
Five GMES and Africa consortia are active in the southern African region and are lead by SASSCAL (Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management), SADC-CSC (Southern African Development Community Climate Services Centre), IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre, RCMRD (Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development), MOI (Mauritius Oceanography Institute) and the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research).
The forum was started with presentations from each consortium leader, introducing the project scope, consortium members, planned methodolgy and expected services and products.
SASSCAL’s Dr Jörg Helmschrot, Director of Science and Technolgy / Capacity Development, presented the SASSCAL-led WeMAST (Wetland Monitoring and Assessment) project. Dr Helmschrot explained the regional need for wetland monitoring and assessment services and products, and moreover emphasised the huge reliance of millions of people in the region on the wetland resources of southern Africa.
Dr Helmschrot further emphasised that WeMAST will build on previous successful initiatives and projects, including SASSCAL’s own research programme.
WeMAST will engage actively with the four basin commissions successfully engaged in the four WeMAST basins, the Cuvelai, the Okavango, the Zambezi and the Limpopo basin.
During the panel discussions, clear synergies were identified between the different southern African GMES and Africa consortia. The audience invited consortia to consider more active engagement with each other, to ensure a pan-African GMES and Africa initiative, instead of respective, stand-alone initiatives. Most consortia do already engage with thematically related consortia.