Department of Science & Technology
 National Research Foundation
All news

UKZN hosts top Global Change Conference

November 07, 2016

UKZN hosts top Global Change Conference

The brightest young “green” minds in South Africa will gather in Durban from the 5th to the 8th of December to share, discuss and debate ways of sustaining the planet. About 350 postgraduate students, academics and researchers from multiple disciplines will attend the 3rd biennial Global Change Conference, hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal at the Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani, to explore solutions for complicated challenges around climate, water, food security, pollution, the environment, transformation, health and similar topics.

The conference is part of a ten-year Global Grand Challenge designed by the Department of Science and Technology as a project for global science, and is co-sponsored with the National Research Foundation.

The conference, which is being arranged with an “eco-friendly” approach, will be an opportunity for postgraduate students, academics, government officials and researchers to meet, discuss their work, and collaborate on innovative solutions for global challenges facing southern Africa.

“The Global Change Conference is very much about a transdisciplinary approach, reflected in the comprehensive breadth of topics covered in the presentations that will be made,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Professor Deo Jaganyi.

“The comprehensive and systemic approach taken demonstrates a commitment to understanding and managing our natural and social systems and preserving our heritage.”

A highlight of the programme will be a presentation in the opening plenary by eminent climate change and sustainable development expert Dr Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh and Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED), who will be speaking on “Reflecting on Climate Change Adaptation Science from a Developing Country Perspective”.

The four-day conference also includes field trips to expose delegates to innovative programmes working to understand and mitigate any negative changes to the natural environment brought about by systematic global changes. Trips will include exposure to KwaZulu-Natal’s oceans, human settlements, catchments and grasslands.

KwaZulu-Natal’s diversity of locales, many of which boast engagement with academic centres and disciplines at UKZN, make it an ideal destination for this conference. “From our marine to mountainous landscapes, our plants and animals, our conservation programmes, our ways of exploring new sanitation technologies and our world-class cities, KwaZulu-Natal, and particularly UKZN, has a wealth to offer researchers working to understand the interaction of these systems in a changing world.”

These features, added Jaganyi, will emphasise that UKZN’s placement in the heart of this rich environment makes it a unique and appealing place to study and work as it contributes to essential, world-class research.

A notable feature of the conference are side events bringing home a global perspective on proceedings, including a feedback session from the COP22 session held in Marrakesh, Morocco in November.

Over three days, students from all academic institutions across the country will present more than 150 papers ranging from agriculture to carbon cycles, conservation, education, mining, climate change, urban and rural development, economics, oceans, technology, and health in a comprehensive approach to global change.

The conference is part of a bigger drive implemented by the government six years ago to seek solutions to the challenges of global change.

“A priority of this drive in research on global change is to encourage and enable the involvement of young researchers and academics who will chart the way to future solutions,” said Jaganyi.

UKZN academics, governmental officials, environmentalists and conservationists are hopeful that the conference will offer postgraduate students, their mentors and other invited experts, the opportunity to come together in implementing positive change.

The students will also be exposed to top minds: UKZN’s Professor Roland Schulze, a top South African water expert, Professor Mark Swilling of Stellenbosch University’s Sustainability Institute, and systems ecologist Professor Bob Scholes during the conference.

Other institutions who will play a role include the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

For the full programme, visit our site:
For more information, please email:

  • Christine Cuénod
  • Email:
  • Tel: +27 33 260 6557 
 >> Global Change press release_November

Contact Webmaster | View the Promotion of Access to Information Act | View our Privacy Policy
© University of KwaZulu-Natal: All Rights Reserved