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African Climate and Environment Center - Future African Savannas (AFAS)


AFAS is one of four DAAD-funded Global Climate and Environment Centers (2021-2025). Our center is a consortium consisting of four institutional partners in Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire and Germany. The GSSC is one of the two German institutions involved. AFAS – as the name already reveals – studies African savannas. Thematically, the focus lies on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation. We furthermore train students to work on Science-Policy-Practice Interfaces (SPPIs). 

The project initiative stems from the urgent need to develop sound and robust evidence-based and science-backed strategies to preserve and protect the fragile environments of the West and East African savannas against the combined threats of extensive and diverse land use and rapid climate change. The center will conduct research, science communication and action in regard to (i) a more secure natural resource base that would create a less vulnerable basis for livelihoods, economic growth and climate resilience, (ii) improved investments in locally acceptable nature-based solutions with opportunities for inclusive economic growth, and (iii) maximising the positive contributions of other sectors to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. It thereby aims to address societal needs and business opportunities and to develop both social-ecological resilience and human capacities to overcome the barriers to the implementation of innovative approaches for climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation and to produce scientific outcomes that are relevant to policy and practice and implementable for the public and private sectors.


Past events, workshops and other highlights inwhich the GSSC-team has been involved:

  • Soft skills courses such as communication skills, stakeholder engagement as well as negotiation and advocacy for MSc and PhD students
  • Panel on the topic “Adapting to and combating climate change in Africa's drylands” at the European Conference of African Studies (ECAS) in Cologne (2023)
  • AFAS Summer School (Bonn/Cologne) – 21st of August to 11th of September 2022: jointly hosted by ZEF Bonn and GSSC Cologne for our MSc and PhD students.
  • AFAS Stakeholder workshop in Abidjan and Nairobi
  • Participation in DAAD Conference (2022) “International Scientific Cooperation for the World of Tomorrow: Global Centres for Health and Climate” (Berlin)
  • Virtual Public Lecture Series on Nature-based Solutions (2022), hosted by the GSSC
  • Participation in side-event at UNCCD COP15 in Abidjan (2022)

Outlook to activities in 2023 / 2024

  • AFAS stakeholder workshops 2023 in Abidjan and Nairobi
  • AFAS Summer School 2024 jointly hosted by ZEF Bonn and GSSC Cologne for our MSc and PhD students