NAIROBI, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan experts on Monday called on African climate researchers to embrace local solutions to reduce the continent's vulnerability to the vagaries of severe weather and extreme climate events.
Laban Ogallo, lecturer of meteorology at the University of Nairobi, said there is need to promote participatory climate research and strengthen networking capacities of other stakeholders.
"The current climate and weather problems we face require local solutions from stakeholders, including traditionalists whose knowledge of climate change is diverse," Ogallo said during grant awarding for 21 grantees to conduct research on climate change in Nairobi.
He noted that climate knowledge gaps exist due to weak collaborative research partnerships that lead to inadequate research of extreme weather events and their impacts.
Ogallo urged young scientists to embark on research that could help implement the African Union's Agenda 2063, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
"You should factor in climate research findings into development policy, plans and practices within the climate sensitive socio-economic sectors like agriculture and food security, health, disaster risk reduction, energy, and natural resources management," he said.
Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said the award is the beginning of a program that will grow and enable Africa to develop a large pool of young scientists who are able to conduct research that can provide evidence to support development policy on climate change.
"The move will help with the planning for climate -smart economy to ensure sustainable development in the continent," Songwe said.
Mithika Mwenda, executive director of Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), urged grantees to seek indigenous knowledge from local communities to help find solutions to the problems people go through.
Mwenda said research on climate change on the continent will give farmers voice as they stand to benefit hugely.
The 21 grantees are drawn from west, east, central and south of Kenya, will each receive up to 100,000 pounds for a period of two years from a 250 million shilling (about 2.5 million U.S. dollars) Climate Research for Development initiative.
The initiative is supported by the African Climate Policy Center of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology, the World Meteorological Organization, Global Framework for Climate Services, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), and the World Climate Research Program.
"This is a paradigm shift to deal with climate change and development in the continent by integrating Africa-wide climate research initiatives," said AAS executive director Nelson Torto.
"We hope that the initiative will mobilize African climate researchers around a unified climate research agenda to address priority needs of policymakers and vulnerable communities in Africa and build the capacity of African climate scientists through cross-regional exchanges," he said.
The AAS will invest in the career development of the 21 researchers by inducting them into their postdoctoral fellowship programs under the AAS Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa platform, Torto said.