The Executive Director of the West African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Land Use (WASCAL) has appealed to governments of member countries to financially resource the regional body to ensure its sustainability.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day planning workshop on the long-term sustainability of WASCAL in Accra yesterday, Professor Jimmy Adegoke submitted that though governments of the member countries had made some efforts, they were not enough, considering the devastating challenges climate change posed to the sub-region.
The workshop has brought together stakeholders from member countries, to among other issues, dialogue on the sustainability of the organisation and how to strengthen its partnership with member countries to build a resilient climate change response.
WASCAL is a West-African research-focused climate service centre designed to provide technical support and build the human resource capacity of member-countries to facilitate effective response to current and future climate change challenges.
The regional body was funded by the government of Germany through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which has so far committed 16 million Euros to the organisation since its inception in 2012.
Additionally, Germany provided 50 million euros for the construction of the centre, which has its headquarters in Ghana.
“The German Government has been the major sponsor of our activities since 2012, when the organisation was instituted and this cannot continue, Prof. Adegoke said.
To ensure the sustenance of the organisation and its programmes, member countries must own it by committing resources to it,” he stressed.
He said climate change was a crucial issue for the sub-region, given that, over the years, it had adversely affected rainfall and vegetation in the sub-region.
Prof. Adegoke, therefore, underscored the need for all West-African countries to effectively respond to climate change, adding that “no one country can do it on its own.”
In his remarks, the German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Chistoph Retzlaff, said Germany would continue to support the West-African organisation to effectively deal with climate change in Ghana.
However, he underscored the need for Africa to build its own competencies to deal with climate change and asked partners of the organisation to respect their obligations to enhance its operations.
Climate change poses major challenges for the entire West African region and aggravates existing problems of water availability, food security, droughts, floods, poverty control and other consequences of climate change ,” he said.
He stressed the need for African climate research competence, as the region’s scientific ådiscussions.
Mr Retzlaff described WASCAL as an excellent example of the German commitment to education and research cooperation with African countries.
In a keynote address, a deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mrs Patricia Appiah-Agyei said stakeholders were aware of the magnitude of the threat that climate change posed to development.
She pledged the government of Ghana’s unflinching support to the operations of WASCAL.
She expressed the government’s gratitude for the contribution of WASCAL in addressing climate change in Ghana.