The Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL), has reiterated its decision to expand SASSCAL membership to all SADC countries in the SADC region. The decision was expressed during the 3rd Ordinary Council of Ministers meeting held on 19 September 2023 in Luanda, Angola. The host and Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Honourable Maria do Rosario Bragança (Angola), highlighted SASSCAL’s relevance in the region and its consolidation of the present and future developments on human capacity, scientific and technological potential. Further, she emphasised the need for the institution to be creative, giving way to new dynamics in order to respond to current and future challenges of climate change such as developing early warning system. The meeting was attended by Honourable Anna Shiweda Deputy Minister (representing Hon. Minister, Calle Schlettwein, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Namibia), Honourable Minister and WASCAL Council Chair Hon Prof. Bouréma Kansaye, Mr Boatametse Modukanele, Permanent Secretary (representing Honourable Minister Philda Kereng, Ministry of Environment and Tourism Botswana), Mrs Jane Chinkusu, SASSCAL Board Member (representing Hon. Minister Felix Mutati, Ministry of Technology and Science, Zambia), Mr Imran Patel, Director General for International Cooperation and Resources (representing Honourable Minister Blade Nzimande, Ministry of Science and Innovation, South Africa).
Angola delegates included Minister Hon. Mário Augusto da Silva Oliveira, Ministry of IT and Social Communication, Hon. Eugénio Alves da Silva, State Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Alice de Fátima Ceita e Almeida, Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Paula Cristina Francisco Coelho, State Secretary for Climate actions and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Environment, Hon. João Manuel Bartolomeu da Cunha, State Secretary of Water, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Hon. António José da Silva, State Secretary of Fishery and Marine resources, Hon. Manuel Quintino, Ministry of Energy and Water, Prof. Razafinjara Aime Lala.
Other participants include the Chair and Vice Chair of SASSCAL Governing Board , SADC reoresentative and SASSCAL Executive Director and staff.
Read on behalf of Hon Philda Kereng, Council of Ministers Vice Chair, Mr Boatametse Modukanele acknowledged SASSCAL’s relevance to Botswana climate change research agenda and the benefits the country is receiving through the support from the German government. Further, felicitating to be a founding signatories of the instrument that established SASSCAL. Botswana assured the meeting that the process for ratification of the Treaty has commenced and that it is at an advanced stage, therefore, encouraged other Member States to ratify.
In her address, Hon Shiweda, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry pointed out that Member states and the funder should continue harnessing, supporting and strengthening the governance of SASSCAL considering that climate Change remains a reality and continues to impact negatively on the environment, social and economic sectors of our countries. She stated the importance of partnership and SASSCAL’s integration in the SADC and AU agenda in the area of science, land and advancement of human capacity development. Hon Shiweda reiterated Namibia’s commitment and dedication towards the success of SASSCAL, and commended the commitment and contribution of other Member States towards the achievement of SASSCAL’s objectives, therefore, requested Member States to fast-track the ratification of the Treaty as well as honouring country contributions.
Honourable Felix Mutati’s (Minister of Technology and Science) statement read by Mrs Jane Chinkusu expressed a need for Member States to put more effort in attracting financing. Further alluding that climate change knows no boundaries, and equally affects both developed and developing countries. This awareness underlines the important role of SASSCAL, particularly in the provision of evidence-based platforms for decision making. She reiterated Zambia’s commitment to country contributions and ratification of the Treaty.
WASCAL Council Chair, Hon Bourema Kansaye expressed gratitude for the excellent relations SASSCAL and WASCAL enjoy and the remarkable successes achieved through partnership with BMBF, expressing that the sister organizations are having a definite impact on decision-makers’ understanding of the environmental threat facing countries. He urged the organizations to adopt an ambitious climate diplomacy because climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. Hon Kansaye highlighted the importance of sharing best practices that will benefit Africa as a whole.
SADC-CCARDESA Board Chair, Prof Razafinjara Lala on the other hand assured to support SASSCAL’s programmes in the region through integration of SADC-CCARDESA’s programmes.
During her presentation, the SASSCAL Executive Director, Dr Jane Olwoch highlighted SASSCAL’s current achievements in research management, services and products, capacity development. She further stated SASSCAL’s projects such as the H2Atlas Africa phase 2, JCoI Coordination project, WeMAST and InTeCRes as well as SASSCAL programs from 2023 to 2025. Dr Olwoch also outlined challenges affecting the institution.
The key outcomes from the meeting of the Council of Ministers include, among others, the election of Botswana as Chairperson and Namibia as Vice Chair of the Council of Ministers for the period of 2 years. The Council also considered the expansion of SASSCAL’s footprint in the SADC region.
SASSCAL Council of Ministers Paid a Courtesy Call to the Vice President of the Republic of Angola
During the Council of Ministers Meeting, members of the Council of Ministers led by Council Chair, Hon Maria do Rosario Bragança, paid a courtesy visit to the Vice President, H.E. Esperança Maria Eduardo Francisco da Costa. Appreciating the visit, the Vice President emphasized the commitment of the Angolan Government in the fight against climate change and pledged to support SASSCAL in its endeavours to expand its membership in the SADC region.