Our Common Future Under Climate Change

International Scientific Conference 7-10 JULY 2015 Paris, France

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FROM DURBAN COP17 TO PARIS COP21: FLAGSHIP WORKSHOP ON WATER SCIENCE COOPERATION FOR HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT

Overview


Organizers : Water Research Commission - WRC, Institute for Research and Development - IRD, University of KwaZulu-Natal - UKZN, Department of Science and Technology (DST), French Embassy, ESASTAP Plus and Alliance Française de Durban
Date : from June 11th to June 12th
Location : UNITE Building, Howard College, UKZN, Durban, South Africa
Expected number of participants : 50-100
Nature of participants : Decision and policy-makers, researchers and students
Keywords : Human Capital Development, Water ressources, Wet lands, international cooperation - South Africa
Keynote speakers :
  • Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, Vice-Chancellor and Principal: University of KwaZulu-Natal (tbc)
  • Elisabeth Barbier, French Ambassador in Pretoria
  • Dr Henry Roman, Director: Environmental Services and Technologies, DST
  • Dhesigen Naidoo,  CEO, Water Research Commission
  • Dr Pierre Lemonde, Attaché for Science & Technology, French Embassy in South Africa
  • Prof Thierry Lebel, IRD, Grenoble, France
  • Prof Graham Jewitt, University of Kazulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  • Dr Vincent Chaplot, IRD, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  • Dr Jean Albergel, IRD/CNRS Representative in South Africa
  • Dr Stanley Liphadzi, Water Research Commission
  • Stephen Hogan, EU Science Counsellor to the African Union (tbc)
  • Mrs Mamohloding Tlhagale, Director: Strategic Partnerships, DST



Summary


The Republic of South Africa through the Department of Science and Technology (DST) promotes and facilitates national and international cooperation in Science and Technology to enable the exchange of knowledge and to develop capacity specifically in research and development. The efficacy of such international cooperation is reflected through a longstanding bilateral agreement between France and South Africa in which French researchers are deployed to work in South Africa with local researchers to advance science and enhance human capital development. The success of these partnerships is embodied in the area of water research in which researchers from the French Institute for Research and Development (IRD) were seconded to the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) to contribute to ongoing soil water studies and ultimately, jointly led Water Research Commission (WRC) funded research projects titled Water, Sediment, Nutrient and Organic Carbon Fluxes in Small-scale Agriculture Landscapes. The projects built on and strengthened ongoing research at UKZN by investigating a new and important research question on the role of water movements on the global carbon cycle with implications for water scarcity, water quality, food security and climate change.

These WRC-funded projects are conducted in the Potshini experimental catchment near Bergville (KwaZulu-Natal Province) which was set up under the SSI project with funding from DGIS, SIDA and IWMI. In extending the soil water studies, the principal investigator, Dr Vincent Chaplot (IRD) recruited BSc (Hons), MSc and PhD students from mixed backgrounds, and trained them under a co-supervision arrangement with UKZN.

The resulting strong scientific grounding of the students, prolific publication records and the investigation of new scientific questions within the context of South Africa, highlight the importance of sharing local and international expertise and international cooperation in advancing science and human capital development in developing countries. Issues of water management, natural resources and environment are global challenges highlighted by climate change impacts. Basic research on climate change, water resources, development of new technologies on water supply and sanitation, as well as innovation in the field of water uses are crucial to tackle global changes. Consequently, academics, research institutes and private sector are focused on more and more international and integrated cooperation.

H2020 European Research programmes, as well as the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP 21) in Paris are opportunities to highlight and enhance the cooperation between France and South Africa in this regard. Opportunities within H2020 and EUREKA – key European driven-market programme, will be presented by ESASTAP Plus partners.

The  main objectives of this Dialogue/Workshop are to:
  • share experiences in ‘best management practices’ for water-related (WRC) research projects
  • explore opportunities to strengthen the international cooperation in science research and development particularly through H2020 and EUREKA
  • discuss water research within the COP21 framework and potential partnership to tackle Climate change issues (Projected water resource availability and utilization, and more broadly mitigation & adaptation)

An evening side-event to this Workshop will be organised in collaboration with the Alliance Française de Durban around the exhibition «Tana Delta: a wetland in the balance » and a 25 minute documentary by the filmmaker Khamis Ramadhan, featuring water management issues in the Tana Delta. This side-event will provide an interesting platform to further interact on Climate Changes issues with other stakeholders from the South African civil societies.

Anticipated length of the side event:
  • half day site visit to the Potshini Experimental Catchment established as a long term observatory for water sediments and carbon fluxes
  • Evening exhibition & film projection: «Tana Delta: a wetland in the balance » (French alliance)
  • One full day: high level presentations and discussions
  • A Full day workshop

 

Key outcomes


The resulting strong scientific grounding of the students, prolific publication records and the investigation of new scientific questions within the context of South Africa, highlight the importance of sharing local and international expertise and promoting international cooperation in advancing science and human capital development in developing countries.

Issues of water management, natural resources and the environment are global challenges highlighted by climate change impacts. Consequently, academics, research institutes and the private sector are focused on more and more international and integrated cooperation.

H2020 European Research programmes, as well as the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP 21) in Paris are opportunities to highlight and enhance the cooperation between France and South Africa in this regard.

Synergies and opportunities with other European representatives were also explored with the participation of Italian and Dutch scientific delegates.


Report


Please find hereunder the press release of the event.