Just two weeks ahead of the COP 27, IRD joined several French, Djiboutian and East African presidential, ministerial and embassy delegations to inaugurate the Regional Research Observatory on the Environment and Climate (RROEC) for East Africa on October 23, 2022 in Djibouti. This launch took place within the framework of the Climate Change and Research Summit 2022, from October 23 to 25 in Djibouti, in which researchers from IRD and its laboratories participated.
The Regional Research Observatory on the Environment and Climate (RROEC) for East Africa
This Observatory is dedicated to research and to the promotion of knowledge communities in the field of science, and it aims to act as an essential scientific tool to serve the country and the region in monitoring climate, its impacts and conflict prevention.
The creation of the Observatory had been announced in May 2015 by the President of the Republic of Djibouti, His Excellency Mr. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, during the East Africa Environmental Risk and Opportunities Summit in Djibouti. It is attached to the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches de Djibouti (CERD) and its implementation has been entrusted to the Djiboutian Minister of Higher Education and Research, Mr. Nabil Mohamed Ahmed. The Director of the Observatory is Dr. Moussa Mahdi Ahmed.
The observatory now has state-of-the-art equipments for data analysis and processing, climate modeling, as well as regional and international scientific partnerships with UN agencies, research centers and universities. It includes:
- Observation stations in a natural environment
- Associated research laboratories
- National or international observation services, in charge of collecting and archiving data for long-term monitoring of environmental parameters
Inauguration of the Observatory
Sunday, October 23rd marks the official opening of the RROEC. On this occasion, a presidential delegation and distinguished guests were invited on site at 8:30 am, to inaugurate the new structure:
- His Excellency, Mr Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti
- His Excellency, Mr Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia
- Mr Nabil Mohamed Ahmed, Prime Djiboutian Minister of Higher Education and Research
- Mr Michael Makuei Lueth, 3rd Vice President of South Sudan and Minister of Information, Communication, Technology and Postal Services
- Mr Binalf Andulam, Ethiopian Minister for Peace
- Mrs Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, Rwandan Minister of Environment
Dominique Dumet, IRD representative in East Africa was also a guest of honor and participated in the opening ceremony, along with ambassadors from countries in the East African region, as well as other representatives and partners from development, research and science organizations and institutions.
Strengthening of partnerships between IRD and Djibouti
Dominique Dumet spoke on behalf of Valérie Verdier, CEO of the IRD, who could not attend the event. She saluted and congratulated the strong-willed and proactive Djiboutian scientific policy, which allows the establishment of a unique research system for the observation and monitoring of changes in a region of importance for the planet.
Climate and environmental changes are making our societies more fragile and call for more partnerships in order to strengthen our resilience and to prevent these changes from becoming sources of conflict and insecurity. It is therefore crucial to quantify and analyze these changes, to follow up on their evolution in order to better understand and anticipate them, and thus to contribute to science-informed decision-making from politicians.
It is therefore fundamental to fund research to produce reliable, comparable and verifiable data. It is equally important to open up knowledge by promoting open science, so that publications, data and protocols can be disseminated among broad audiences without hindrance, and so that we can also share this information and the solutions it generates with society, so that we can be useful together in advancing solutions.
RROEC is fully in line with the strategic priorities of the IRD, particularly on the African continent:
- To contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and in particular the SDG13 for the fight against climate change;
- To co-construct and maintain solid, balanced partnerships that aim at the co-development of international North-South laboratories, of which management, programming and funding are based on a joint commitment;
- To educate students in scientific excellence and to encourage international research networks to share knowledge and to carry out joint actions on a regional scale and beyond
The Observatory represents a powerful tool for Djibouti and the region, a privileged entry point for development and research key actors for data research, to download it, to use it and to fund it.
IRD is at RROEC's side to carry out together its missions of research, conservation, data access and training; our teams continue the already fruitful collaborations with CERD researchers and RROEC partners. IRD is committed to proposing collaboration formats according to the values it holds dear; a co-constructed, equitable and respectful partnership, which will always bring more synergies and knowledge to solve the problems of the territories.
The IRD is also supporting RROEC's partners in building useful multilateralism, to create links with its partners in the regions of East Africa and West Africa, but also with its international research networks oriented towards climate and environment, starting with the upcoming network related to research actions conducted under the Great Green Wall initiative.
IRD is committed to contributing to the excellence of RROEC, to its success and its prosperity.
The Climate Change and Research Summit 2022
Under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic H.E. Mr. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, Djibouti hosted from 23 to 25 October 2022 the international Climate Change and Research Summit : Towards a sustainable resilience and adaptation. This high-level meeting organized by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Djibouti was held at the Djibouti Palace Kempinski. Several Heads of State from the East African region were attending, as well as distinguished guests, climate and biodiversity specialists, various internationally renowned public and private institutions, and representatives of civil society.
A presidential panel highlighted the commitment of East African countries to strengthen regional cooperation and the consolidation of technical and scientific knowledge in the face of global changes that affect them. These discussions were also in line with the upcoming COP 27 that was held in Egypt in Sharm el-Sheikh from November 6 to 18.
On this major event the Republic of Djibouti confirms, under the leadership of its President Mr. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, its involvement in counteracting climate change. Djibouti is a land of exchanges and meetings, and hopes to mobilize the region's key actors, strengthen cooperation, to welcome researchers, to train young people, and to work in networks.
The 3-day Summit acts as a major platform for consultation, exchange of expertise and proposals for viable and sustainable solutions to the consequences of the climate crisis.
The Summit was organized around several main sessions and related side events:
- Climate change modeling scenarii
- Land use and agrosystem
- Water resources and management in the context of climate change
- Emerging diseases and biodiversity
- Migration, food and water system
- Mitigation, adaptation and energy solutions
- Networking and capacity building
IRD researchers came all the way from France and East Africa to speak at the Summit:
- Fredérique Aberlenc, UMR Diversity - Adaptation - Development of plants (DIADE)
- Jean Emmanuel Paturel, UMR HydroSciences Montpellier (HSM)
- Aicha Ahmed, UMR Espace Dev
- Benjamin Sultan, UMR Espace Dev
- Dominique Dumet, IRD Representation in East Africa
- Marie-Pierre Ballarin, UMR Unité de Recherche Migrations et Société (URMIS)
- Pierre Deschamps, Centre Européen de Recherche et d’Enseignement de Géosciences de l’Environnement (CEREGE)
- Cristele Chevalier, Mediterranean Insitute of Oceanography (MIO)
- David Williamson, UMR Espace Dev
- Eric Servat, IUNESCO International Center on Water (ICIREWARD)
Partners funded by IRD's Department of International and European Relations (DRIE):
The IRD at COP 15 and COP 27
IRD will be present at the COP 27 UN Climate Change Conference from November 6-18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and at the COP 15 UN Biodiversity Conference on December 7-19 in Montreal, Canada. At these international conferences for the planet, IRD will carry three main messages:
IRD's integrated approach to research, essential for a cross-cutting vision of science-based solutions
The fight against climate change and the erosion of biodiversity are inextricably linked, but they are also at the intersection of many other concerns: health, social, economic, political. IRD's unique research model, with the three pillars of sustainability science - economic viability, environmental protection and social equity - is essential to co-construct knowledge and insights, based on the collaboration between scientists from different disciplines and non-academic actors, in order to bring up sustainable solutions to these unprecedented crises. For example, to reach 30% of protected areas, it is necessary to identify and to understand the uses and needs of local populations.
Research based on openness and sharing
The IRD is a vital leader in addressing these crises thanks to its long-standing partnerships in countries from the South, a research rooted in sharing, openness to others and to the world, and listening and adapting to a constantly changing world. IRD has 42 International Joint Laboratories (LMI) in the South.
A win-win relationship relation
Countries signing international conventions have unequal economic and social situations and ecosystems. This imbalance must be taken into account in the global framework, in a spirit of efficiency and environmental justice. For nearly 80 years, the IRD's approach to research, expertise, training and knowledge sharing for the benefit of territories has made science and innovation one of the primary levers for their development. The IRD represents 61% of co-publications with a partner in the South and 35 theses funded in the South per year with the ARTS programme (Allocations de Recherche pour une Thèse au Sud) to train future leaders, experts and scientists.