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Ambassador for the Year of Science

Science Network

18/12/2012

Programme Inkaba yeAfrica faces climate change

Group photo
His Excellency Rev. Dr. Makhenkesi Arnold Stofile, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa with participants of the GEO-FUTURE Workshop at the opening reception in Berlin’s Natural History Museum (photo by Y. Veksler).

Meeting global challenges of climate change, ecosystem diversity and sustainable natural resources depends on understanding the Earth System. This has been the central goal of the Inkaba yeAfrica programme. Since 2003, about 200 postgraduate students and young scientists in the two countries have engaged in collaborative, cutting-edge research and training.

With its strong capacity-building component, a research output of over 70 publications in top international journals and visibility at science & technology fairs and symposia, Inkaba yeAfrica has become a flagship of German-South African collaborative research and education in the Earth Sciences.

The Year of Science event "GEO-FUTURE", held in Potsdam and Berlin from November 26-30, 2012, showcased the achievements of the Inkaba yeAfrica Programme at the end of Phase II. The workshop involved a scientific symposium as well as planning sessions for future initiatives. The 100 science contributions were grouped into four theme areas:

  • Earth Observation & Geodynamics,
  • Mineral Resources,
  • Energy Resources, and
  • Landscape Evolution, Ecosystems & Land Use

The scientific symposium was rounded out with evening guest lectures on Climate Change in the Arctic (the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Potsdam) and on Biodiversity in Evolving Landscapes (the Bavarian State Zoology Collections, Munich). The central public event of the workshop was an evening lecture in Berlin’s famous Urania Hall entitled "Earth Stewardship Science in Africa, with Everyone a Stakeholder". The 64 student delegates from South Africa benefitted from short courses and visits with their German counterparts at the Free University and the Natural History Museum in Berlin, and the Potsdam Geoscience Centre GFZ.

The 90 workshop participants from South Africa represented twelve universities and research centres in addition to the National Research Foundation. The 40 German participants came from five universities and five research centres (Helmholtz and Leibniz Associations, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources), and from the Ministry for Education and Research. A highlight of the week-long workshop was the welcome address by His Excellency the Ambassador of South Africa, Rev. Dr. Makhenkesi Arnold Stofile, in the Natural History Museum.