I am copying below what my colleagues (Francis Pope (PI of this project) and Rhiannon Blake) have written for our School bulletin as per the first inception workshop we hosted a couple of weeks ago in Birmingham .It was a fantastic opportunity to meet with our project partners and move forward with this fascinating project.
At the end of January, the ‘A Systems Approach to Air Pollution (ASAP) – East Africa’ (www.asap-eastafrica.com) UK team hosted a conference at the University of Birmingham, as the first workshop of the major international research project looking at how rapid urbanisation in three African cities - Addis Ababa, Kampala and Nairobi impacts upon air quality. ASAP members from GEES include Francis Pope (PI), Lauren Andres, Ajit Singh and Rhiannon Blake.
Delegates that attended included scientists from our three study countries; Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, but also from many different institutions such as the University of Nairobi, African Centre for Technology Studies, Uganda National Roads Authority and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute to a name a few.
The beginning of the workshop was structured around the inception phase of the ASAP-East Africa project, with discussions of work planning, ideas for stakeholder engagement and understanding different perceptions of what the pressing issue of air quality looks like for East Africa. As well as cementing the strong bonds the UK team has with our international partners, relationships were formed across the different countries which is vital for strengthening our research across the interdisciplinary, multinational project.
The ASAP-East Africa consortium were then joined by a group of leading experts in the field to discuss possible scenarios for Nairobi’s air pollution in the year 2030. We had delegates from the UN, the African Development Bank, the Overseas Development Institute as well as academics from within our University, Professor Roy Harrison and Professor Nic Cheeseman to engage in this session, chaired by Professor Tim Softley, University of Birmingham Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer.
The outcomes of the high level workshop were very positive, identifying major themes such as how new technologies such as electric cars can reduce air pollution emissions, the benefit of conveying positive messages of air pollution reduction to engage both the public and governments and the importance of tailoring our research to each city to ensure the most impact.
Lauren Andres, Urbanist