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Enhancing food security under climate change in Western Africa calls for stronger interdisciplinary research collaborations and more active communication between researchers and policymakers across the region. These were the conclusions of the Conference on Climate Change and Food Security in West Africa co-organized by Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD) and Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, on 17-18 November 2019 in Dakar, Senegal.

The conference demonstrated significant outcomes of the capacity building activities conducted in the region under the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) Program. In total, more than 250 full research papers were submitted, of which 35 outstanding papers were competitively selected by leading climate change academics from the region. Many of these papers were from the alumni and students of the WASCAL Graduate School on Climate Change Economics. For young researchers, the conference provided an opportunity for close interactions with experienced senior researchers and detailed feedback on their ongoing research.

Conference participants

“Adapting to climate change is key for maintaining and enhancing food security in Western Africa” – highlighted Prof. Aly Mbaye, Director of WASCAL Graduate School on Climate Change Economics. “The conference clearly showed that climate change is projected to have huge impacts on agricultural production and value chains, on human and plant health in the region, but there are many adaptation options and policy solutions are available”.

Prof. Aly Mbaye, WASCAL Graduate School on Climate Change Economics, communicating to Senegalese media

“I am very pleased that a strong new generation of climate change researchers is emerging in West Africa. Regional research collaborations, links to global science – these are the opportunities which make me very optimistic about the future potential of these young academics from West Africa” – added Prof. Joachim von Braun, ZEF Director.

Conference participants giving feedback and advice to young researchers on their presented papers

The conference was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the Program of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation (PARI).