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Accra and Tamale, 2-3 May, 2012

CECAR-Africa Project Kickoff Meeting in Ghana

Contact: Effah Antwi, UNU-ISP


The CECAR-Africa project collaborating institutions on 2nd of May, 2012 held a kickoff meeting at the United Nations University - Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) in Accra, Ghana to formally commence the operational phase of the five year research project dubbed “Enhancing Resilience to Climate and Ecosystem changes in semi-Arid Africa: An Integrated Approach”. Delegation from Japanese institutions namely University of Tokyo, United Nations University-Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) and Kyoto University joined their Ghanaian counterparts, University of Ghana, University for Development Studies (UDS) and Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMeT) at the meeting.

CECAR-Africa Project Kickoff Meeting UNU-INRA, Accra, Ghana - Interactive Session. Photo by Ms. Elizabeth Dapaah

Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Vice Rector of UNU in his capacity as Principal Investigator of the project addressed the gathering to officially open the event and chaired proceedings in the first session. Having set the agenda for the meeting and overview of the project, Prof. Takeuchi opened the session for series of presentations from members in the three thematic groups.

In the first session, Dr. Kwabena Effah Antwi of University of Tokyo and UNU-ISP and Dr. Osamu Saito of UNU-ISP touched on research structure, plan and operational aspect of institutional collaboration during the five years of the project. Members from partner institutions presented their short and long term research plans. Major outcomes derived from deliberations of the session are:

  • Details of 2012 annual research tentative plan by thematic groups
  • Data collection and data sharing issues among project partners
  • Defined levels of collaboration within and among research partners and institutions to avoid overlaps of work
  • Policy, process and timeline for the selection of the project site
  • Preparation of background paper on resilience based on the Ghanaian Model. to be published in a peered reviewed Journal

The afternoon session chaired by Prof. Ishikawa of Kyoto University, provided a platform to engage the team on other topical issues. Notable among them were input made by Prof. Gordana, UDS, on preliminary project site selection and field visit to Fihini and Jana, flood and drought prone communities respectively. Dr. Effah Antwi also led the team on some logistical issues involving arrangements for remote meetings facilities, project vehicle usage and location. The Japanese and their Ghanaian counterparts reached agreement to co-supervise masters and PhD candidates who would conduct their in as part of developing their capacity.

The final session chaired by Prof. E. Gyasi, University of Ghana, brought together government institutions, NGOs, INGOs and international organizations working on similar research type projects in the three Northern regions of Ghana. Vice Rector Takeuchi addressed the session where he gave brief presentation on the CECAR-Africa Project. The UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms. Ruby Sandhu-Rojon also provided a brief overview of UN initiatives and support in the area of climate change in Ghana. Ms. Takemoto, UNDP representative also provided an overview of UNDP projects and programme in relation to climate change and disaster/ risk management and impacts. There was also a presentation by the CEO of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Alhaji G. Iddi as well as a representative from National Disaster management Organization (NADMO). Prof. E. A. Gyasi lauded the successes achieved at the kickoff meeting in his wrap-up and a closing remark speech.

Following a successful kick-off meeting in Accra, the delegation travelled to the Northern Region on 3rd May, 2012 to meet with Prof. Yakubu Haruna, Vice-Chancellor (VC) of UDS, and representatives of the Faculty of Agriculture at UDS Nyankpala campus. Prof. Haruna assured cooperation from UDS for the project and emphasized the importance of site selection in the projcet.

The 15-member delegation visited potential study sites including Fihini in Tolon-Kumbungu District, prone to droughts; and Jana/Kukobila in Savelugu-Nanton District and Nasia in West Mamprusi District, both of which are prone to floods. Community members were very receptive and forthcoming.

Vice Rector Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi and his Team visited drought prone community, Fihini, in the Tolon-Kumbungu District. Photo by UDS.

Vice Rector Prof. Takeuchi and Dr. Ayuk, Director of UNU-INRA visited the Ambassador of Japan to Ghana H. E. Mr. Naoto Nikai (4th May, 2012) at the Japan Embassy after their field visit to Northern Ghana. During the visit, Prof. Takeuchi gave a comprehensive overview of the CECAR-Africa project and progress made in the operational phase of the twin institute initiative between UNU-ISP and UNU-INRA. H. E. Mr. Naoto Nikai on his part expressed the mission’s interest to champion the cause of Japan’s initiatives in Ghana and pledged his support for the CECAR-Africa project and the twin institute initiative.