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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). The GSSC is one of the four institutes collaborating in this interdisciplinary center.

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 (

  • a more secure natural resource base that would create a less vulnerable basis for livelihoods, economic growth and climate resilience,
  • improved investments in locally acceptable nature-based solutions with opportunities for inclusive economic growth, and
  • 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. The object is to overcome 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.

Planned AFAS activities co-organized and facilitated from Cologne include:

  • the development of a joint virtual/hybrid Master programme based in Nairobi and Abidjan;
  • research and capacity development;
  • networking activities to strengthen interfaces between science, policy, business and civil society;
  • internship programme with government institutions, NGOs, international organisations and the private sector;
  • exchange visits to and from Germany for MSc- and MA-students, PhD-students and post-docs, such as participation in the European Conference on African Studies taking place in Cologne in 2023;
  • public lecture series on the topic of nature-based solutions.