Climate change – an interdisciplinary effort

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A trio of experienced Australia Alumni experts and climate change influencers–Prof Opha Pauline Dube (Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Botswana), Dr Izidine Pinto, (Post-doctoral researcher, Climate System Analysis Group, University of Cape Town), and Ms Patience Mthethwa, (from the Department of Water and Sanitation in South Africa)–engaged short course participants from 13 African countries at a Climate Change forum.

The group discussed climate change and adaptative water management, policy development and reform and innovative technology development.

According to alumnus, Dr Izidine Pinto, future warming is inevitable if greenhouse gases and other human-made pollutants continue to increase at the present rate in the atmosphere. If mitigations strategies are not successful, the global mean temperature can rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels in the next 50 years resulting in increased occurrences of droughts. “Addressing inequalities is most important to increase resilience to climate change issue”, says Dr Pinto.

Prof Lenore Manderson (Australian lecturer and Professor in Public Health and Medical Anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand) reflected on the support required to encourage the establishment of innovative enterprises that potentially mitigate climate threats and generate income. “Although policies are in place, following through with sustainable programs, introducing changes and managing community concerns, are also important,” she says.

The short course participants attended the first half of an eight-week Australia Awards short course in South Africa through a partnership between Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Witwatersrand’s Global Change Institute. They will complete the second half of their course at ANU in Australia early in November.

Photo credit: From left to right – Prof Pauline Dube, Prof Lenore Manderson, Prof Zeblon Vilakazi (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand), Ms Sonya Koppe (Acting High Australian Commissioner to South Africa, Ms Patience Mthethwa and Dr Izidine Pinto (back).

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