Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Future Okavango Project: German delegation visit

The visit of the German team yesterday promoting the "Future Okavango Project" kicked off with a presentation by the Director, Prof Sue Ringrose on HOORC's research activities. In it she zeroed in on certain issues for consideration by HOORC in light of this project. She acknowledged that this collaboration would expand TDAs and E-flows. However, she pointed out there is a paradox that exists in trying to integrate expectations of the German scientific community given the budget cuts. Given that the North-West District is the poorest region, there is a need to prioritise the needs of the rural population ( finding ways to effect empowerment). On a different note, she added that there is need to maintain graduate student involvement and to source for funds for a project coordinator. In his presentation, titled "Regional Science Service Centres (RSSC) for climate change and adapted land management", Dr.Rainer Mussner, pointed out that one of the motivators for this project is the acknowledgement by Germany of its international responsibility regarding climate change and their desire to do research with Africans for Africa, and not use Africa as a model. In a nutshell, they are looking for "partners to engage in collaborative research on an equal footing" and the approach is to build upon existing networks e.g. BIOTA. He cited the following reasons for HOORC to buy into the project, namely: a regional data/knowledge information centre would provide better evidence based policy, there would be a transfer of up to date knowledge to stakeholders and it would strengthen regional and international cooperation. He concluded that the global trend is to carry out research through partnering with each other.

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