The 3rd Eastern Africa Quaternary Research Association workshop

Zanzibar, Tanzania, 7-12 February 2011


Figure 1: EAQUA meeting participants

The workshop was hosted by the Institute of Marine Sciences of the University of Dar es Salaam. It was attended by 55 participants (Fig. 1) from 17 countries and received coverage in local media including Radio television Zanzibar and newspapers. The workshop was generously supported by the Directorate of Research of the University of Dar es Salaam, INQUA, Paleontological Scientific Trust (PAST), and Past Global Changes (PAGES).

The official opening was attended by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of State in the President's Office Public Services and Good Governance, Mr. Joseph Meza on behalf of the Minister Hon. Haji Omar Kheri. The workshop was officially concluded by the Director of Records and Archive Mr. Hamad Omar.

Mr. Meza underscored the importance of EAQUA as a regional body that fosters Quaternary Science research in East Africa. He pointed out that the treasures of the rich archeological and anthropological history of Eastern and Central Africa has not yet been fully unearthed owing to a lack of capacity and resources, thus requiring multidisciplinary cooperation and capacity development. Such treasures could help to fight poverty through promotion of ecotourism. He also reminded participants to reflect on how far EAQUA has achieved its mission of enhancing growth of the Quaternary science community in the region through training, collaborative research and information exchange. Participants were urged to come up with tangible results, such as student exchange programs and joint proposals. He challenged the Institute of Marine Sciences of the University of Dar es Salaam to develop a postgraduate program in maritime archeology, which could boost archeological studies in the entire Great Lakes Region.

The EAQUA workshop was preceded by a one day INQUA/EAQUA meeting with presentations from INQUA, Pan African START Secretariat (PASS) and EAQUA country representatives. INQUA presented objectives, activities and available opportunities for the EAQUA members to participate in the programs of the commissions. PASS presented opportunities to the members for training and research, for example, the African Climate Change Fellowship Program (ACCFP) and the Education Program on Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation. Participants were urged to take a leading role in utilizing these opportunities. Country representatives reported on Quaternary research activities in the region and felt that more capacity building is required.

The general theme of the 3rd EAQUA workshop was “On- and off-shore: Eastern Africa during the last 100 ka”. The workshop had 40 oral and 5 poster presentations. Talks were divided into six sessions namely (i) Marine and lacustrine records and reconstruction, (ii) Techniques and methodological development in Quaternary research, (iii) Paleoclimate reconstruction, (iv) Vegetation reconstruction (v) Recent trends in climate change-Impacts and vulnerability assessment for eastern Africa, and (vi) Trade, anthropology and archeological studies in Eastern Africa. Time was also allocated for a roundtable discussion where several priority areas of research were identified: (i) Compilation of modern archives of climatic records for the last millennia, (ii) Reconnaissance program to establish caves hosting speleothems, (iii) Creation of a database of Quaternary scientists and projects working in eastern Africa; (iv) Archeology, environment and Humans focusing on issues such as hydrology, vegetation, fire, human-climatic influences, and others. Additionally, the need for several focused meetings with a progressive agenda was emphasized.

The EAQUA workshop concluded with a discussion of association matters, including the election of executive members. Elected for a period of 2 years are: Prof. Mohammed Umer (President), Prof. Alfred N.N. Muzuka (Vice President), Ms Christine Ogolla (Secretary General), Ms Jackline Nyiracyiza (Treasurer), Prof. Asfawossen Asrat (News Letter Editor), Dr. Immaculate Ssemmanda (National Representative (NR Uganda), Ms. Rahab Kinyanjui (NR Kenya), Elgidius Ichumbaki (NR Tanzania), Dr. Julius Lejju (Ex-Officio), Dr. Margareth Avery (INQUA).

Category: Workshop Reports | PAGES Magazine articles

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