Southern Africa is currently facing one of the worst drought periods of recent times. Increased temperatures and decreased rainfall are playing havoc in the agricultural sectors of many Southern African nations, creating food and water security issues for millions of people.
In light of this, the International Water Security Network has teamed up with the Monash South Africa Centre for Transformative Research (CTR) to co-host a drought seminar. The seminar brings together local and regional academics, MSA students, industry experts and government officials to discuss risks and mitigation strategies to drought in Southern Africa. It will be held at Monash South Africa on the 3 June 2016 in conjunction with World Environment Day celebrations taking place on the 5 June.
Dr Jim Taylor, Environmental Education Director of WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) and Dr Stanley Liphazi from the Water Research Commission will be making keynote addresses, kickstarting dialogue around the ongoing drought in Southern Africa. Other contributions will be made by A/Prof Bimo Nkhata, and Duncan Hay, Director of the Institute of Natural Resources (INR).
Linked to this seminar, Monash South Africa students were invited to participate in an essay and poster competition to document and reflect on their stories of the drought. Through their reflective essays they were asked to recall their personal experience, what mitigation measures they personally took in their own household or business, and what longer term strategies they would suggest for Southern Africa. Poster entries looked specifically at drought mitigation measures and recommendations for Southern Africa. A competitive number of submissions were received which will be judged by a panel of local and international experts.
During the seminar four deserving MSA students will be awarded the IWSN undergraduate prize for their essay and poster submissions. These prizes will be handed out by the Academic President of Monash South Africa.
In order to ensure that the dialogue emerging from this seminar is not lost and has a wider reaching impact, the IWSN team will produce a report, in which student contributions and recommendations will be included. The report will be shared on the IWSN and MSA websites and taken forward with key industry partners.