Regional Conference on Trace Element Research in Africa

11 February 2002 - The Trace Element Satellite Centre for UNESCO (TESCU) is organizing its first regional conference in Africa. The Conference, entitled Trace Elements in Biological Processes and Review of Trace Element Research in Africa, will be held on 27-30 March 2002 in Nairobi, Kenya. Over 150 participants from both English- and French-speaking African countries are expected to participate. In conjunction with the Conference, and immediately preceding it on 25-26 March, the Department of Chemistry of the University of Nairobi will conduct a two-day regional training workshop on basic instrumentation used in trace element analysis and environmental sampling and analytical techniques. Some 50 participants will be selected to participate in the workshop, and through it learn techniques and acquire knowledge they need to promote trace element research in their home countries.

The WCS Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge called for the building of scientific capacity to be supported by regional and international co-operation in order to ensure both equitable development and the spread and utilization of human creativity without discrimination of any kind. Moreover, the Declaration urged co-operation between developed and developing countries in conformity with the principles of full access to information, equity and mutual benefit. In the wake of the WCS in 1999, the Trace Element Institute for UNESCO (Lyon, France) established, in co-operation with the Organization, a network of satellite centres of excellence in 14 countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Japan, Kenya, Libyan Arab Jamahyrija, Lithuania, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Russian Federation, Senegal, Tunisia, and Turkey).

Scientists affiliated to the Satellite Centre in Kenya have over the years conducted research on trace elements in freshwater, and in marine, terrestrial, livestock and human environments. However, the results of their studies and others from the rest of Africa were largely not shared or available to the international community. In this context, the Conference in Nairobi will be a particularly important gathering that will document, and promote awareness of, the status of trace element research in Africa and of its impact. The Conference will also be conducive to new regional and international partnerships in an interdisciplinary area of research that has important bearings on nutrition, agronomy, pharmacology, toxicology, epidemiology and veterinary sciences in the region.

For further information contact: UNESCO’s Division of Basic and Engineering Sciences, Section of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, e-mail: c.ramasiarisoa@ unesco.org