Between 6-18 November world leaders are meeting in Egypt for the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP27 between. In celebration of COP being held in Africa, the Low Carbon Energy an Environment Research Network Wales have compiled a set of case studies highlighting Wales - Africa climate focussed research collaborations which include four case studies from Bangor University.
“Man made climate change is creating significant challenges for everyone on the planet” says Julia Jones, a professor at Bangor University and Director of the research network. “We’re very proud of the work being done by researchers at Bangor and across Wales, collaborating with African partners to find meaningful solutions to both help us mitigate, and adapt to, climate change.”
Africa is a key player in the battle against climate change. The continent is home to 18% of the world’s tropical forests giving it a vital role in mitigating climate change. With rapidly growing populations seeking economic growth, African countries are also forced to think outside the box for ways to achieve development in climate friendly way leading to new innovations.
As well as mitigation, Africa is also an important place for climate adaption research. Despite having played only a small role in the causes of climate change, the United Nations Environment Programme points out that Africa is currently the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as many on the continent lack the resources to buffer themselves from the effects of climate change.
Researchers from Bangor University are successfully tackling a wide range of climate related issues in Africa. With tropical forests storing approximately one quarter of all forest carbon they are vital for mitigating climate change. Bangor University researchers in collaboration with the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, are working with local communities to ensure that forest conservation does not harm local livelihoods.
In Uganda, Bangor University researchers collaborating with Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organisation are developing single use plastic replacement products from the waste material from maize production.
In Togo, Bangor University researchers are collaborating with Togo’s National Potato Research Organisation to trial high yield disease resistant potato varieties which will reduce the amount of land needed for agriculture and reduce the need for biocides whilst improving food security.
In Nigeria, Bangor University researchers are collaborating with the University of Jos to help conservation organisations and local communities plan for the changing weather patterns predicted under climate change.
The common thread through all the projects highlighted by research network was collaboration.
“It is wonderful to see the diversity of collaborations between researchers based in Wales and those in a wide range of excellent African research institutions” says Professor Jones. “A successful research collaboration becomes more than the sum of its parts and is a great opportunity for all involved.”
Bangor University’s research collaborations build on a strong ethos of collaborative research among Welsh universities with more than 50% of Wales’s research output having been produced by international collaborations. And it gets results. An assessment of Welsh research published in 2021 found that Welsh research had 80% more citations, the number of times the research was mentioned in other research papers, than the global average.
“These case studies really highlight the importance of Welsh research on the global stage,” says Rhys Bowley, manager of the research network. “We really are a small nation with big ideas!”
For the full details and more great examples of climate focussed research from across Wales please head over to www.lceernw.ac.uk/wales-in-africa