Environment, Climate Change, Biodiversity

African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI)

The obligation on the one hand to inspire with visions of a brighter future and the challenge on the other of responsible earth stewardship, present southern Africa with exceptional opportunities. UCT has established an African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) to engage with climate variability and global change from an African perspective. It aims to draw on, and coordinate, the University’s current resources, partnerships and intellectual capital across a range of disciplines through the framework of three broad foci: cutting-edge research, teaching at postgraduate level and social/public awareness.

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Chair in Energy and Climate Change Policy

Climate change is the single greatest threat facing human civilisation and the future of humanity may well depend on how this threat is countered. In South Africa, the human, intellectual and institutional capacity for the making of climate policy remains severely limited. While a Research Chair in Climate Change has been established under the Department of Science and Technology Research Chair’s initiative, large gaps remain in the area of climate change mitigation studies. One of the most glaring gaps is the fact that there is no dedicated undergraduate teaching programme on energy and climate change policy in a South African university and only one course at Master’s level. As the challenges of climate change press closer to home, there is a need to grow human capital in this field – rapidly.

UCT’s Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology

Birds are considered to be good proxies for biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems and for this reason, tracking and studying birds has a vital role to play in conservation. The Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology (PFIAO) at UCT, founded in 1960, is the only ornithological research institute in the southern hemisphere and one of only a handful in the world. Since its formation, the Institute has achieved a number of significant milestones including, in 2004, being awarded the status of Centre of Excellence in Science and Technology by the South African Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation. In 2010, the PFIAO celebrated its 50th anniversary. It marked the occasion by embarking on a fundraising initiative linked to teaching and research. A key aim is to establish a fund for the provision of bursaries for talented African postgraduate students who will further Africa’s ability to conserve its biodiversity.  Visit the Institute’s website.

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