Call for scientists to develop sustainable water agenda for Africa
24 August 2009
His Excellency Joachim Chissano, former President of Mozambique, is urging delegates at a major science conference in Nairobi, Kenya, to define a sustainable water usage agenda for Africa. From 25-28 August, scientists from across Africa will meet for the Pan Africa Chemistry Network (PACN) Sustainable Water Conference to explore ways to develop solutions for the most urgent needs of Africa's water situation. The conclusions will be delivered to the UN on World Water Day 2010.
The conference, taking place at Nairobi University, will address a wide range of water-related subjects including a look at major challenges such as climate change and detailed scientific topics such as the toxicity of water resources and water contamination. It is the most ambitious initiative set up under the aegis of the network, which is developing links across Africa between scientists, researchers, schools and libraries to help promote science and research across the continent.
"This conference will bring together the very best minds from across Africa to assess and develop a sustainable water agenda for the continent. We face serious water-related challenges in Africa and now we need to develop the best responses to them as part of an agenda for action," said President Joachim Chissano.
The conference is hosted by the PACN, a partnership between the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and Syngenta. It is the second PACN conference held in Nairobi. Joachim Chissano, Chairperson of the Africa Forum for Former Heads of State and Government, will be joined by Dr Sally Kosgei, Kenyan Minister for Higher Education, and Mike Mack, Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta.
"Population growth, limited farmland and water scarcity threaten food security globally, but in particular in Africa. Technology, science and international collaboration are essential to address these challenges," said Mike Mack.
Professor Shem Wandiga, Director of Kenya's Centre for Science and Technology Innovation said: "Water scarcity results in hunger, water-borne diseases, pandemics, power shortages and animal deaths. Water conservation and harvesting is critical in Africa and the conference will explore knowledge in water management, purification and conservation."
Dr Richard Pike, Chief Executive Officer of the RSC said: "Water has become an acute problem in many countries in Africa, with shortages and pollution becoming a political matter with potentially disastrous consequences."
25 - 28 August 2009, University of Nairobi, College of Biological and Physical Sciences, Chiromo Campus, Nairobi, Kenya
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