Seven East African scientists are among 21 researchers who will receive up to Ksh12.8 million ($128,000) each from a UN-supported initiative in the next two years to conduct different studies that will prepare the continent to deal with the impacts of climate change.
Through a programme known as Climate Research for Development (CR4D), the scientists will study different trends with the aim of strengthening climate knowledge gaps on the continent in relation to sensitive socio-economic sectors. These include agriculture and food security, health, disaster risk reduction, energy, and natural resources management (water, forests and others), gender, migration, urbanisation, infrastructure, marine and coastal zones.
Dr Stella Kabiri-Marial from Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Uganda will conduct a study for a green-energy driven technology solution to support the on-site fertiliser production in Africa while the study by Dr Isaac Mugume from Makerere University will be on the implications of the 1.5 – 2.0 degree Celsius to the country’s climate, agriculture and water nexus.
“The fertilisers in the market at the moment consume a lot of energy during the production stage, and in the process, they emit a lot of greenhouse gases that are responsible for the global warming,” said Dr Kabiri-Marial noting that the new technology emits zero carbon.
Dr George Otieno from Kenya will study how seasonal forecasts can be improved, including the introduction of climate change information to enhance early warning systems and disaster preparedness for effective response over the Greater Horn of Africa.
From Tanzania Dr Asanterabi Lowassa will examine the impact of gender inequality on the climate change and mitigation measures/coping strategies used by men and women.
Dr Eleni Yitbarek and Dr Mokone Adnew Degefu will stand in for Ethiopia.
Closer home, Dr Anderson Kabila, a Cameroonian scientist will undertake a study that seeks to bridge the gaps in science, technology and policy by providing decision makers with the information and tools they for measuring and evaluating the roll out of policies and programmes in East Africa.
The CR4D is an initiative supported by partnership between African Climate Policy Centre of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology, the World Meteorological Organisation and the Global Framework for Climate Services, and managed by the Africa Academy of Sciences.
“We have true problems on the African continent and we really need our scientists to help in solving them through research,” said Dr Judy Omumbo of The Africa Academy of Sciences.
According to Dr Omumbo, climate research in Africa is fragmented and is not mainly demand-driven.
“We have not had institutions demanding that for studies to be conducted based on prevailing needs, but also, research financing in Africa has always been a challenge,” she said.