The University of Botswana is very active in climate change research, Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, has disclosed. Professor Norris was welcoming delegates of the IPCC 4th Lead Author Meeting (LAM4) at the University of Botswana Conference Centre on April 9, 2018.
UB organised the five-day meeting in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism. The meeting is overseen by the trans-disciplinary Botswana Global Environmental Change Committee (BGCC) under the Office of Research and Development (ORD) at UB and the Botswana National Climate Change Committee (NCCC) under the Department of Meteorological Services.
Professor Norris said given key environmental problems Botswana was facing such as water scarcity and pollution, land degradation, biodiversity loss and deforestation, he was happy to report that the University of Botswana was very active in climate change research.
“It is clearly evident that the greatest threat to economic prosperity and humankind as a whole is the adverse effect of climate change. It is, therefore, highly prudent that we are awakened to create a new era of global green growth. The time is now and not tomorrow,” he said.
Consequently, the Vice Chancellor outlined some of the key research activities that UB was undertaking that included production of updated locally and regionally relevant information on current climate trends and future climate conditions, as well as understanding vulnerabilities of people to climate change.
The University, he said, was also engaged in understanding indigenous coping strategies to inform adaptation actions and policies that could assist in the formulation of management strategies. Most importantly, added Professor Norris, the University was educating the general public and stakeholders about climate change science and its socio-economic and environmental implications on local and regional economies.
“I want to heartily thank the authors gathered here for their devotion in highlighting the precarious situation the world finds itself in because of climate change and for sensitizing all of us to be active participants in reducing and possibly reversing the adverse effects of climate change” he observed.
On the eve of the conference, members of the IPCC travelled to Ramotswa for an outreach programme organised as part of the LAM4 activities in an effort to establish how rural communities minimised climate change risks besides maximising benefits from emerging opportunities. The event was also part of the BGCC and NCCC to facilitate interaction between IPCC climate change experts with the larger community in Botswana to enhance science-based knowledge of climate change that could assist in establishing appropriate climate change response actions.
Kgosi Mosadi Seboko together with some residents applauded the IPCC experts for engaging communities at grassroot level since that would help sensitise them on climate change issues and further assist in coming up with appropriate responses at all levels of development.
Different speakers observed that Ramotswa was one of the areas that were disaster prone, especially during rainy seasons because the area was prone to floods. They also highlighted effects of global warming that have resulted in low agricultural yields and blamed most of these on poor environmental protection methods, or lack of.