The University of Rwanda students and staff were called for being mindful about the effects of climate change. The call was made by Prof Sir David King during a public lecture that brought together UR community and government officials with high stakes in climate change. David is the Champion of many initiatives around the globe against disasters caused by climate change.
Speaking during his lecture themed : “Foresight in Policy Making : Management of Risks and Opportunities for Rwanda and the World”, King reflected on the recent cyclone that hit southern Africa and questioned lack of preparedness in the event of climate-related disasters. He said that due to climate change, water in the oceans is much colder and the surface of ocean temperature is warmer than it was in the past. According to him, there should not be a surprise because scientific communities predicted exactly the same in case measures are not taken.
Prof King during the public lecture
“No clear message, no analysis of what might happen ; there should be early warning systems in place” said David.
In the course of the lecture, Sir David King talked about water management in Rwanda. He warned that the Eastern part of the country and Kigali will face severe water shortages by 2040 if water is not adequately managed. He added that Rwanda as one of the densest countries in Africa should manage growth of population with the increase of income.
Today Rwanda is harvesting only 2.2 per cent of rain water ; with a population growth projected to hit from 12m today to 20m by 2040 Rwanda will require to harvest at least 50 per cent of rain water. For this to happen, there should be plan to build water reservoirs and dams particularly in the North West then channel water in the east for farming and home. He noted that the capital cost will be significantly high, estimated in billions $ but worthy investing because sustainable water management is the critical foundation for prosperity and economic growth.
In attendance : From Left to Right : Prof Nelson Ijumba, UR DVC Academics and Research, Hon. Dr Vincent Biruta, Minister of Environment and Dr M. Christine Gasingirwa, Director General Science and Technology- Ministry of Education
Since 2010, Prof David King worked with the Government of Rwanda to come up with mechanisms about climate change. In 2011, a report about Green Growth and Climate Resilience was published. The publication contains national adaptive mechanisms and strategies against climatechange.
Prof King has been Senior Strategy Adviser to the President of Rwanda for several years. He was the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, 2000-2007, the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change, 2013-2017, working with 165 Climate Change Attaches in UK Embassies, and Chair of Future Cities Catapult, 2012-2016.
A section of students who attended the Public lecture