Resilient Lagoon Network West Africa Conference held at UEW
The opening ceremony of the Resilient Lagoon Network (RLN) West Africa Conference, has been held at the University of Education, Winneba (UEW). The conference ran from Monday, 4th July to Thursday, 7th July, 2022.
The conference brought together academics from the University of Derby, United Kingdom (UK), Benin, Nigeria and the UEW. It was sponsored by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to facilitate dialogue and knowledge transfer between experts from natural and social sciences, engineering, and education to devise ways of improving the resilience of lagoon communities.
The conference also served as a forum for academics and West African lagoon stakeholders to network, discuss, and share strategies for the sustainability of the region's lagoons.
RLN members in a group pic with stakeholders and experts from natural and social sciences, engineering, and education after the conference at UEW
Associate Professor of Geoscience and Head, School of Built and Natural Environment, University of Derby, UK, Dr. Sian Davies-Vollum, in her presentation indicated that the RLN had identified sustainable strategies by bringing together the three Ps (Policymakers, Practitioners, and People) in coastal communities to combat the threat. She added that the RLN had created a tool kit that could be used to support sustainable lagoon management.
The Dean, Faculty of Business Education, Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development, Ghana, and Co-lead of the RLN, Prof. Isaac Boateng, stated that they are on a journey to networking with professionals and stakeholders along West Africa to study what lagoons look like in the 21st century and what they could do to make sure that lagoons in West Africa are resilient enough to withstand challenges.
He underscored that Lagoons represent communities, livelihoods, and resources. He, therefore, expounded on the need to protect lagoons to prevent floods, famine, and unemployment in West Africa.
1st row (R-L): Dr. Edmond Agyeman, Dr. Esther Yeboah Danso-Wiredu and Dr. Sian Davies-Vollum; 2nd row (R-L): Prof. Isaac Boateng, Ms. Vivian Arye-Addo and Dr. Enoch Sam
The Director, Directorate of Research, Innovation, and Development, UEW, Dr. Edmond Agyeman, and the Head, Department of Geography Education, UEW, Dr. Enoch Sam, speaking on behalf of the University Management, were very appreciative of RLN’s choice of the UEW as the centre for their project.
"We are pleased that such a conference and significant initiative is being stirred here. At the end of the day, we think that the network, the practitioners herein, and the Department can all work together to protect the environment. Geographers take pride in being nature's ambassadors, thus we must be worried about some of these activities. To ensure that this project is a huge success, we will try our best to provide you with whatever support you may need,” Dr. Sam assured.
Experts from various fields contributing to the round table discussions
As part of activities for the four-day conference, the network members and stakeholders had field visits to lagoons in the Central Region of Ghana, hybrid stakeholder conferences, and round table discussions. The network members hope to extend their research to Asia and other parts of the world.
Network members exploring the Muni lagoon in Winneba
The RLN was developed to link researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to lagoon communities, providing a platform to share experiences and understand key challenges. The network brings together cross-disciplinary expertise and practitioners to build multiple perspectives and broad understanding needed to respond to the problems of lagoon communities.
Members of the network are Dr. Sian Davies-Vollum, Prof. Isaac Boateng, Dr. Esther Yeboah Danso-Wiredu, Dr. Debadayita Raha, Dr. Funmilayo Doherty, Dr. Zacharie Sohou, Prof. Kwasi Appeaning-Addo, Dr. Andrews Agyekhumene, Dr. Idowu Aneyo, Dr. Georges Degbe, Dr. Steve Mitchell, Dr. Sarah Hemstock, Dr. Anne Danby, Dr. Steve Puttick and Amolegbe Oluwatosin Aishat.