SASSCAL Hosts its First Earth Observation Training Dedicated to Wetlands Management and Restoration

On 2nd – 3rd March 2023, the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL), in collaboration with the Midlands State University (MSU) and University of Western Cape (UWC), held its first Earth Observation (EO) physical training in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

According to an official release by SASSCAL, about 40 individuals from diverse sectors, including the natural and water resources management sector, the environmental industry, river basin commissions, academics, local communities, etc., participated in the training.

The Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Service for Transboundary Basins  (WeMAST)  Phase II training on EO Applications in Wetland Monitoring and Assessment, officiated by Professor Laurine Chikoko, the Director of Research Innovation and Industrialization at Midlands State University, and themed “Towards enhancing the utilisation of Earth Observation in wetlands management and restoration,” was conducted to equip individuals, institutions, and decision-makers with the latest EO data and geospatial skills instrumental in wetland mapping and vulnerability assessment.

According to Professor Laurine Chikoko, the EO training was conducted to address the Southern African Democratic Countries (SADC) policy priorities and strategies on water management, which per the SADC Vision 2050’s Cross-Cutting strategic framework, objective six, encourages sustainable conservation of natural resources, gender equality, and the effective management of the environment. 

Furthermore, she stated that the MSU is committed to capacity developmental programmes for overall socio-prosperity and will host the WeMAST geoportal on its website to ensure the widespread adoption of its products and services. In addition, the group-segmented training discussed the advantages of geospatial tools and their applications, wetland frameworks and policies, and the comprehensive role EO data play in wetland mapping and assessment, among other things.

As part of its plans, the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Service for Transboundary Basins  (WeMAST)  Phase II aims to organise similar EO-dedicated training around the year to encourage women to participate and apply for and apply for such training. 

The Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Services for Transboundary Basins (WeMAST) is a project under Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa) programme, jointly funded by the African Union and European Union.