• The linkage between science and policy is still poor as coordination is a challenge.
• Mbarak said there is a need for policymakers and scientists to collaborate in order for research being generated to make any meaningful impacts.
Decision makers have been urged to make use of the information generated by scientists through the use of earth observation technologies such as satellites.
Food and Agriculture Organization Kenya Representative Husna Mbarak raised concerns that the linkage between science and policy is still poor as coordination is a challenge.
“The academia has been ignored for a long period of time. There is a lot of research generated and presented in academic institutions but ends up in libraries,” Mbarak said.
Mbarak made her remarks at Kasarani-based Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development during an international conference on earth observation.
She said there is a need for policymakers and scientists to collaborate in order for research being generated to make any meaningful impacts.
The FAO representative said her organisation has helped the government to implement some of the initiatives in the land sector such as digitisation of land records.
Mbarak said policymakers must be confronted with facts for them to make informed decisions.
“There is need to build the capacity for them [policymakers] to understand the technical language being used by scientists,” she said.
Land management, policy and development, innovations and data, agriculture and food security and biodiversity conservation and blue economy were discussed during the three-day event.
More than 1,000 delegates are taking part in the three-day conference themed "Next Level: Space to Community".
Over the last six years, the conference has hosted more than 4,000 delegates from ministers, Principal secretaries, government officials, scientists, development partners, researchers, academia and media groups.
During the conference, experts said 'scientists do not have the authority but ideas while those in leadership positions have authority and not ideas'.
Dr Saley Mahaman from the African Union Commission, Dr Humbulani Mudau from South African National Space Agency, FAO's Mbarak, Davie Chilonga from Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in Malawi and Collin Marangu from the Plant Protection and Food Safety Directorate, Kenya, addressed the conference.
Marangu said there is need to build trust between scientists and policymakers.
“Policymakers need to trust the academia,” Marangu said.
He said there is need to understand why there is a gap between scientists and policymakers.
Marangu said data generated from earth observation technologies helped the government to closely monitor the desert locusts in 2019.
Mahaman from AU Commission said science has the capacity to transform Africa.
“Science should be the basis of our development,” he said.
Director from the Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing Dr Moses Akali said earth observation technologies has helped Kenya to map the degraded areas in anticipation of the planting of 15 billion trees in the next 10 years.
The state hopes that by 2032, the country’s tree cover will have hit 30 per cent from the current 12.13 per cent.
The forest cover increased from 5.9 per cent in 2018 to 8.83 per cent in 2021, while the national tree cover stands at 12.13 per cent above the constitutional target of 10 per cent.
Results generated from the National Forest Resources Assessment 2021 show that the country has 5,226,191.79ha (12,914,201 acres) of national forest cover, which represents 8.83 per cent of the total area.
Akali urged scientists to recognise and reward knowledge exchange activities.
“Promote professional development and training among players,” Akali said.
During the event, Digital Earth Africa opened a satellite office that will be hosted at RCMRD.