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WAI receives the Representatives of the RISC Consortium and the GAMMA Program

Visit IPP WAI RISC GAMMAProfessors Harlan Koff, Miguel Equihua,  Carmen Maganda and Griselda Benítez Badillo from the Consortium for Comparative Studies on Regional Integration and Social Transformation (RISC) sojourned in Praia from October 1st to 5th in the framework of their partnership with the West Africa Institute (WAI).

The aim of the visit was to present the GAMMA Program to the Cabo Verdean Government, Academics and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in order to listen to their concerns about environmental issues in Cabo Verde, their propositions and their thoughts about a possible implementation of the project, which is coordinated by the Instituto de Ecología (INECOL), in the country.

During its stay in the Island of Santiago, the delegation met with:


- Former President Pedro Pires, President of the Pedro Pires Institute (IPP) for


- Indira Pires, Executive Director, IPP;

- The Minister of Regional Integration, HE Julío Herbert Lopes;

- The Minister of Agriculture and Environment, HE Gilberto Silva;

- Prof. Dr. Odair Barros-Varela, Uni-CV ;Gamma 3

- Dr. Maria de Lourdes Gonçalves, Uni-CV;

- Dr. Vera Alfama, Uni-CV;

- Dr. Sónia Silva, Uni-CV;

- Dr. Januário Nascimento, ADAD;

- Dr. Ângela Moreno, INIDA;

- Mr. Antonino Pereira, INIDA ;

- Mr. Jacinto Santos, President NGOs Platform;

- Mrs. Dirce Varela, NGOs Platform;

- Mrs. Débora Carvalho, Organisation 350;

- Mrs. Angèle Da Cruz, Embassy of Luxembourg in Cabo Verde

- Mr. François Bary, LUXDEV

The West Africa institute was represented by:

- Prof. Djénéba Traoré, Director General, WAI

- Mrs. Vanilde Lopes, Executive Assistant, WAI

- Mr. Renato Frederico, Deputy Executive Assistant, WAI

- Mr. Marcio Junior, Web Master Assistant, WAI

In his presentation, Prof Miguel Equihua explained the background and gave the detailed description of the GAMMA Program as follows:

Gamma 5The GAMMA Program derives from the EU-funded (FP7) ROBIN (Role of Biodiversity on Climate Change Mitigation in Latin America) project. Dr. Miguel Equihua and Dr. Octavio Perez-Maqueo, the coordinators of GAMMA were leaders in ROBIN. They have calculated for the whole of continental Mexico, the annual ecosystem integrity values per km2 for the period 2004-2014 and they have mapped the country utilizing these values. This groundbreaking research has important relevance for sustainable development strategies related to climate change, biodiversity, the use of strategic natural resources and quality of life. For this reason, the GAMMA program: 1) generates new data on ecosystem integrity in Mexico through the use of innovative technologies (satellites, sensors, etc.)  and quantitative analysis,  2) integrates machine learning and big data analysis into sustainable development decision-making with the goal of promoting policy coherence for development.

In addition to research, the program aims to contribute to environmental management through INECOL’s formal collaboration with Mexican government institutions such as CONABIO (National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity), CONAFOR (National Forestry Commission), CONANP (National Commission for Protected Areas) and other conservation organizations in partnership with the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature, the CONACyT thematic network on Socio-ecosystems and Sustainability as well as various State governments (such as Veracruz, Guanajuato and Aguascalientes), 3) contributes to Mexico’sSpecial Programme for Science, Technology and Innovation (PECITI), 4) harnesses and enhances the capacities generated in the environmental and social fields, for the design, linkage, monitoring and evaluation of development plans and programs, oriented to the sustainability, maintaining ecological integrity and contributing to environmental justice, and 4) offers advanced conceptual and methodological training in the field of sustainable development.

The GAMMA UL-Chair on Regional Integration and Sustainability is responsible for coordinating

Gamma 6the research on policy coherence for development which is central to this project (see figure above). In addition to the research conducted on sustainable development policy-making, the Chair will work with coordinators of other branches of the project in order to contribute to the program’s impacts on civil society, governmental decision-making, and capacity-building and training. It will also help the program coordinators to reinforce science-policy coherence by focusing on how information is collected and utilized by academic and decision-makers.

The exchanges with the representatives of the Cabo Verdean Government have been extremely fruitful. Both Ministers in charge of Regional Integration and Agriculture and Environment have shown interest for the GAMMA Program and suggested for both sides to make a follow up in the perspective of a collaboration between their Department and the GAMMA Program. In addition, the Minister of Agriculture has pointed out important environmental challenges for Cabo Verde in terms of climate change, drought, natural catastrophes being the triggers of lack of water and low agriculture productivity.

In his response, Prof. Miguel Equihua explained that the GAMMA Program could be adapted to the environmental reality of Cabo Verde and further ECOWAS Member States willing to implement the Program in order to share and take advantage of the experience and research findings of Mexico.


Gamma 1The meeting at the Pedro Pires Institute (IPP) was meaningful in the sense that the Institute organizes yearly capacity building sessions for young leaders and also an International Strategic Dialogue Session on relevant issues for the planet. Thus, IPP could envisage to address in the next sessions a theme related to environmental issues in Cabo Verde and worldwide.

The discussions with Cabo Verdean Academics focused on initiating a scientific partnership between national Higher Education structures the GAMMA Program (INECOL) and the University of Luxembourg.

It was important for the delegation to meet representatives of Civil Society Organisations in Cabo Verde, because they do play and will play in the future a major role in the protection of the environment. The GAMMA program aims to foster civil society participation in environmental research.

As scientific Partner WAI will support the GAMMA Program and help its cooperation with ECOWAS Member States.

The RISC Consortium and the GAMMA Program representatives left Praia stating that this first step has been highly successful. They expressed their gratitude to the WAI and its staff.

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