A 2023 World Climate Research Programme- Open Science Conference (WCRP-OSC) has opened in Kigali paving way for scientists to think of new ways and common ground in addressing challenges faced in climate change and resilience.
The week-long 2nd Global Open Science conference which opened this October 23, 2023 will be a platform for global scientists, researchers and leaders to discuss and share models of how climate change can be mitigated especially in Africa.
Lina Yassin, Sudanese researcher on Climate Change at the International Institute for Environment and Development, who gave opening remarks on Leveling the playing field: The crucial role of climate science in empowering vulnerable nations, said that there has been less progress made on Africa.
Using the Paris Agreement signed seven years ago, as an example, Yassin said: “Right now, seven year later we are still debating on implementation details despite clear indications from IPCC on off-track temperature target,”
With passion for Africa, Yassin said that the continent remains untapped despite its potential and natural resources and at the same time challenged by lack of financing especially in climate research.
“The vicious cycle of financial systems is hindering progress towards low-carbon transition, enhanced adaptive capacity, and increased resilience. It is not our pace that is slow, but the global cooperation,” Yassin said highlighting a gap in international climate finance and support for local climate research.
“Climate justice is not about charity or victimhood, it is about justice and cooperation guided by science from the most vulnerable communities, If we need to move forward, it has to be cooperation, not aid not charity” she said.
Dr. Helen Cleugh, the co-chair of WCRP OSC said that there is urgent need, through science, to take transformative actions and solutions as the challenges and impediments are profound especially following the fact that the WCRP coordinated the research unequivocally concluding that humans are changing the earth’s climate.
“Science must be at the core of overcoming these challenges, finding the solutions, and taking action. Indeed, for over four decades. Through advances in climate science, we can now project plausible future climates and the consequent choices and decisions and transformations society faces.
Cleugh noted that climate science on its own is not enough and that this conference aims to strengthen the connections between physical and social sciences; between scientists and decision makers – to better enable integrated and effective solutions and policies.
Amina Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group backed this argument saying that climate action cannot be separated from sustainable development thus active engagement of stakeholders is crucial and no one should be left behind.
Detlef Stammer (WCRP Chair)said that there is alot of information out there and one of the objectives of the conference is to get it and use it profitably through research and evidence based decision making and sustainable development.
Stammer stated that there is a plan to create a true global information system that includes building climate research work in Africa, which he said that it was currently behind (in research funding) compared to other parts of the world.
“For example, we are now trying to spin up the global precipitation experiment which will really have participation from Africans in Africa (to make climate observations) and be on equal footing with the rest. I think this is a great opportunity for Africa and other parts of the world,” Stammer said.
At the conference, world scientists and researchers will draft a Kigali Declaration on the Paris Agreement to be presented at the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework on Convention on Climate Change to be convened from 30th November to 12th December 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Conference will also highlight some of the climate models for instance on climate prediction and models on flow and sharing of climate information.
Stammer commended Rwanda for its work in setting up research centres of excellence, training human capital and upgrading its weather and atmospheric measurement quality systems among other crucial policies.
Rwanda’s Minister for Environment, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya said that the need to act now (on climate mitigation) cannot be underestimated that is why Rwanda is currently investing in priority areas of climate research and meteology and hosting such conferences to gather knowledge and experience in order to take action.
Mujawamariya stated that Rwanda is doing well on research work but also emphasised that the conference research models, discussions, and collaborations (partnerships) are of paramount importance, as they will inform and shape the strategies and decisions in Rwanda and at the international level.