April 19, 2024

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Africa Hosts Historic World Climate Research Conference in Rwanda!

By Emmanuel Mutangana

The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and University of Rwanda in collaboration with other partners hosted the 2023 World Climate Research Programme_Open Science Conference. The WCRP Open Science Conference is held once in every decade and the first time held in Africa to bring together the climate research community and share the latest findings in the field.

The 2023 OSC took place from the 23rd to 27th in Kigali, Rwanda, under the theme, “Advancing climate science for Sustainable future”.

The conference aims to convene different actors to discuss latest development in climate science research and priority areas for Sustainable future.

Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, emphasized in her welcoming remarks that the World Climate Research Programme’s Open Science Conference serves as a crucial platform for international collaboration and the exchange of information.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the World Climate Research Programme and its partners for choosing Rwanda as the host for this conference. It reflects the recognition of our nation’s dedication to climate research and action”, she said.

Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment

“I would also like to thank all the participants, speakers, and partners who have traveled from around the world to be here. Your presence underscores the importance of the work we are embarking on together”. She said.

She also revealed that OSC is a testament to the power of science, research, and open dialogue in advancing the understanding of the global climate system.

Minister Mujawamariya said

“This is an opportunity to learn from one another, collaborate on new ideas, and collectively chart a course towards a more sustainable and resilient future. The research, discussions, and collaborations that will take place during this conference are of paramount importance, as they will inform and shape the strategies and decisions made at the international level”

According to Amina Mohammed (Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group) “We can’t afford to separate sustainable development and climate action, they go hand in hand. This conference is an opportunity to leverage research for climate change mitigation and sustainable development”. She said.

Prof Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of World Meteorological Organization(WMO), said “We have broken records in CO2 levels year by year. Sea level rise has more than doubled in past 20 years. Glacier melt is speeding up. We need early warnings for all and climate action. Together, let us advance climate science, it’s possible that this year will be the warmest on record. We all know where the heading”. He said

Taalas cited growing impact of climate change as an issue for Kigali Declaration on importance of advancing climate science for a sustainable future for all.

“Climate change and climate science are the best concerns for us in Africa, for Sustainable future, meeting the heart of Africa, we will advance climate science to address climate challenges”, he said.

Prof Petteri Taalas concluded highlighting the defining challenge of climate change and how it’s impacts hit the global south hardest.

” The modeling and observing features challenge; what is needed is climate information for all, open access data sharing, improving forecasting tools through better representation of physical processes, advances in climate model data fusion. Improving observations and observational networks intergrating indigeneous knowledge and monitoring, verification and reporting are critical; “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. He said.

Lina Yassin (Researcher-Climate Change, International Institute for Environment and Development), talking about the effects of extreme weather in Sudan and how changes in flooding are being felt year on year by Sudanese citizens, she said Global collaboration can do better, and should do better to address such issues.

Yassin said “Science must at the core of societal transformation especially in human interactions with climate. Developing countries need to benefit from rapidly and equitably”.

Macharia Kamau (Special Envoy of office of the Former President of the Republic of Kenya; International Science Council), highlighted the sustainable development goals perspectives adding that “Isolated projects won’t solve the climate change problem, we need to have research at scale, finding new ways of collaboration to devise transformation actions to address the most wicked problems arising from climate change”. He said.

Kamau highlighted global cooperation and solidarity to tackle climate crisis emphasizing people to close North South gap in scientific research and indigenous science and research on the African continent. “There is no North and South for climate; there is one world, one planetary climate system and one fragile climate and global solutions. We won’t solve the climate crisis in Silos. We need to invest in indigenous science. There is no climate action without other SDGs”. He said.

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