With climate change being one of the most severe challenges to rural Africa in the 21st century, West Africa is facing an urgent need to develop effective adaptation and mitigation measures.

WASCAL (West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) is a large-scale research-focused program designed to help tackle this challenge and thereby enhance the resilience of human and environmental systems to climate change and increased variability. It does so by strengthening the research infrastructure and capacity in West Africa related to climate change and by pooling the expertise of ten West African countries and Germany.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), WASCAL is coordinated by the Center for Development Research (ZEF, Bonn University), and is implemented in a collaborative effort by West African and German partners.

Climate change is projected to be more devastating making the challenges facing the region more complicated. Therefore there is a pressing need for a comprehensive understanding of the climatic system of the region and for adequately trained human resources in water-related sciences in order to meet the requirements of water-related MDGs and other regionally and nationally agreed goals.

WASCAL is organized around three principle components: