By Agnes Nantambi
The Norwegian Government has injected over 17m Nowegian Kroner (about sh8b) into the training of climate change experts in four universities as a measure to mitigate climate change through research.
The money is channeled through Makerere as the coordinating university in collaboration with other three universities to build their capacities in climate change through research and training.
The four-year research project entitled: "Regional Capacity building for Sustainable Natural Resource Management and Agricultural productivity under climate change (CAPSNAC)," is funded through the NORAD program NORHED and implemented in universities of Makerere, Addis Ababa, University of Juba and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
Speaking at the first research dissemination workshop at Makerere University, Principal Investigator Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa said the project aim is to strengthen the capacity of universities to address issues to do with climate change, environmental management and agricultural productivity.
He observed that the issue of climate change is a new aspect and taking scientists by surprise where almost all the participating countries lack experts hence the need to train people to understand it.
Prof Samuel Kyamanywa (L), the principal investigator of the project with Dr Paul and Chairperson of the Parliamentary committee on natural resources, Jacob Wangolo (R) during the disemination workshop at Makerere. PHOTO/Agnes Nantambi
"The training is being conducted at Masters and Phd level. At masters level a total 12 students will be enrolled, 5 of whom have so far been recruited; 5 Phds will come from South Sudan, 3 from Uganda and 2 from Addis Ababa" he said.
He said that the other aspect is to prepare farmers through predicting to them the changing weather pattern and designing cropping systems that are resilient to climate change.
He said that the project will also conduct short term trainings on environmental impact assessment and social environmental safeguards for all and adjusting the curriculum to incorporate climate science.
He added that the project will focus on eastern Uganda taking the course of River Mpologoma catchment area in Iganga, Mbale and Katakwi because they have problems of flooding.
He explained that they have already started interviewing farmers to find out what their problems are to guide them in the proposal writing.
The Chairperson NORHED Institutional Development and Implementation Committee ( NIDIC) Prof. Hannington Oryem said the main goal of NORHED program is increased research capacities in low and medium income countries to enable them provide public and private sector with skilled workforce.
Prof. Origa encouraged the beneficiaries to produce quality work consumerate with the projects that won the grant and to come up win innovations.
He noted with appreciation that while Makerere also needs to strengthen its capacity in higher education and research her increased support to Southern Sudan was a noble cause.
"I am happy to note that this project bringing together researchers from four countries to enhance capacity building most especially in South Sudan," he said.
The chairperson Parliamentary committee on Natural resources, Jacob Wangolo, reminded participants that it's a scientific fact that global climate change was real and had manifested by increased frequency and intensity of extreme green house emissions which will significantly affect food security , natural resources and agricultural productivity.
"The President has been clear and has directed that all houses in the wetlands be demolished but the problem is who will do it. You saw the state prosecutor was gunned down doing the right thing so who will be firm to save the wetlands," he expressed fear.
Prof. John Muyonga said the Eastern Africa region has an agricultural led economy with over 80% of its population dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods and development observing that Agricultural productivity and natural resources are increasingly facing threats of variable and changing climates, natural resource degradation, decreasing agricultural productivity.
"As Makerere University we are committed to addressing the regions challenges through supplying knowledgeable and multi-skilled graduates, as well as providing evidence based solutions to support the formulation of interventions and appropriate policies for accelerating national and regional development, "he said.
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Norwegian Govt injects sh8bn into climate research