The 18th Meeting of the International Council for Science (ICSU) Regional Office for Africa (ROA) Science Seminar was held at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, on 15th March, 2017, as a wrap-up to the main meeting that preceded it. The Conference was held under the theme “Role of Science and Meteorology in Sustainable Development”, and the main objective was to understand the role Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Telecommunication, Engineering and Meteorology is playing regarding sustainable development.
The seminar was officially opened by the Guest of Honour, Hon. Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Nkandu Luo and attracted participation from various Government departments and agencies, universities, the media and ICSU – ROA Board Members.
In her speech, Prof. Nkandu Luo, placed emphasis on the importance of science and technology for sustainable development in Africa. She challenged scientists to strive to always be adequately equipped to be able to swiftly respond to effects of climate change such as the recent infestation of army worm. Finding a solution to the problem will contribute to food security in the country. She further emphasised that science should be the backbone for the development of any country that universities and research institutions should consider strengthening their research capacities.
SASSCAL supported and participated in the event, and Zambia National Node Director, Ms. Indie Dinala, made a presentation titled “Towards Scientific and Evidence Based Decision Making”. In her presentation, Ms. Dinala highlighted some key areas of achievement that SASSCAL has contributed towards the development of science in the region. She further indicated that ICSU and SASSCAL both have common goals and, therefore, urged ICSU and other science based organisations to collaborate and complement each other in areas of research. To avoid duplication will ensure maximising the minimum available resources.
Mrs Susan Veldsman, Director of Scholarly Publishing Unit, Academy of Science of South Africa, gave a presentation on the African Open Science Platform that shares similar objectives with the SASSCAL OADC.
The seminar ended with a call for collaboration between ICSU and Zambian science institutions for the country to respond more efficiently to the effects of climate change.
In a speech read on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communication and Transport, the Acting Director of the Zambia Meteorology Department, Prof. Joseph K. Kanyanga, cited that the role of science and meteorology in social and economic development is today more and more recognised and appreciated.