Africa’s Water Opportunity: Science, Sustainability, and Solutions
April 21 – 22, 2021
The theme of Climate Change, Agriculture, and Health in Africa is a key research focus for the Harvard Center for African Studies. A changing climate will have adverse impact on crop yields and quality, resulting in reduced availability of food or food of poorer nutritional quality, and that a lack of nutritious food puts a population at greater risk for communicable and non-communicable diseases.
On April 21 – 22, 2021, the Harvard Center for African Studies will reconvene our Climate Change, Agriculture, and Health in Africa initiative around the theme of water for a two-day virtual conference on Africa’s Water Opportunity: Science, Sustainability, and Solutions. Water has been a central and defining theme of Africa’s development agenda for decades. Climate change across the African continent will result in altered rainfall patterns, with some areas becoming drier and others seeing increased levels of precipitation. Agricultural crop yields are greatly impacted by the availability of water or the occurrence of drought, as demonstrated by a growing body of research. And, water remains central to our livelihoods: for hydration and cooking, for healthcare, and for industry and manufacturing. Indeed, it was in recognition of water’s essentiality to human life that in “July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.”
As implied by the title of the conference, each panel and keynote will focus on science, sustainability, and solutions. What does the latest research reveal about each theme for discussion, and what novel or innovate research is taking place? How can national governments, local communities, and the private sector in Africa develop sustainable water solutions? And, what best practices should be held up as models for addressing the water question in Africa? To address Africa’s water opportunity, panels will feature a diverse mix of faculty and researchers,private sector representatives, NGOs, and non-profits working on 21st century solutions to water. We will identify participants from across Africa (ensuring regional diversity including North Africa) as well as the international community.