Specialists in every ministry and organisation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region should be trained to adapt to and mitigate climate change, according to Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka, who holds the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) chair in global change and social learning systems. Universities, therefore, need to introduce programmes on climate change in the short and long term to increase capacity in communities. This could ensure that communities are well informed on issues of climate change and that they have survival skills, Lotz-Sisitka said during a presentation at the Southern African Regional Universities Association’s (SARUA) eighth colloquium on climate change held virtually on 22 June 2021.
The critical role of higher education institutions towards the adoption of long-term climate-smart resolutions and sustainable development policies in society has been intensified over the years as the world grapples with the adverse effects of climate change, especially within vulnerable communities. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a region most devastated by climate change, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), academic institutions have been working with stakeholders to develop curriculums, advance research projects and provide further training for graduates on climate change.
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African universities have been called upon to start contributing effectively to the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the continent is lagging behind on. This will require a targeted approach of partnerships between governments, academia and industry, according to a universities vice-chancellors’ panel at the Southern African Regional Universities Association’s (SARUA’s) first digital colloquium titled ‘Regional Collaboration of Higher Education in the post-COVID-19 era’.
The Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) will be hosting a colloquium series for eight weeks following the cancellation of its virtual conference that was scheduled for 20-21 April. In a statement, the SARUA organising committee had said it had decided not to continue with its virtual higher education conference.
SARUA launched its much anticipated Colloquium Series on Higher Education Collaboration for Regional Development in May 2021. The first Colloquium held on 19 May 2021 was a success. Professor Dhanjay Jhurry from the University of Mauritius was the main speaker and discussed practical approaches around the topic of Higher Education Collaboration for Regional Development in a Post Covid-19 era with a specific focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) will be hosting a virtual higher education conference themed “Higher Education Regional Collaboration: Opportunities in complex times?” During the conference, scheduled for 20-21 April, SARUA’s newly formulated digital collaboration strategy will also be launched.
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