GIRAF Strategy and Agreement
94 participants from 30 nations met in Windhoek, Namibia, between 16 and 20 March
2009 to hold a workshop on geoscience information in Africa with the purpose of:
- bringing together relevant African authorities, national experts and stakeholders in
- initiating the building of a pan-African geoscience information knowledge network to
exchange and share geoscience information knowledge and best practice
- integrating the authorities, national experts and experts across Africa into global
- developing a strategic plan for Africa's future in geoscience information
- making Africa a more active part of the international geoscience information community
Participants agreed that:
- Africa's geology is less well explored in comparison with the rest of the world
- effective management and dissemination of geoscience information is crucial
- we need geoscience information to successfully deliver and implement applied
geoscience so that we can address the challenges in education, mitigate hazards, locate
and sustainably manage resources, and address the impacts of climate change in order
to meet society's needs.
Participants agreed the following 15 recommendations:
- A small GIRAF management group is set up to coordinate the work and ensure that
GIRAF is sustained. This small group will comprise a core executive and regional
- GIRAF, through BGR, will set up a permanent but dynamic web which will include
national contact details, news of progress and upcoming meetings and links to useful
documentation, an informal message board. GIRAF will also aspire to produce a
- Participants will communicate the outcomes of this meeting to the African geoscience
organisations not present at GIRAF 2009 and encourage them to take part and embrace
these recommendations and become a part of the GIRAF community
- GIRAF will establish a network (and focal point) within Africa to connect geological
survey institutions, support North-South partnerships in research and develop linkages
to other related bodies, projects and initiatives.
- GIRAF will nominate African delegates to international bodies as to IUGS-CGI Council
and the OneGeology Operational Management Group. These delegates will represent
Africa at these two committees and communicate developments in IUGS-CGI and
OneGeology back to African geoscience organisations.
- The GIRAF community will seek support especially for those nations who have
demonstrated a severe lack of capacity and capability and requested aid.
- The GIRAF community will seek funding and sponsorship to support its work and goals
and develop an initial case and pr,oposal in order to bid for funds.
- A second GIRAF Workshop should be organised in two years time and continue
biannually. Tanzania/SEAMIC have agreed to host this .
- GIRAF will encourage all African geoscience organisations (e.g. OAGS, Geological
Society of Africa and other participating organisations) to communicate their
collaboration through reports to their organisations, presentations at conferences, web
pages, press releases and other means.
- The GIRAF community will use all opportunities to lobby politicians, (including where
possible ministerial briefings), using for example the occasions of INDABA, UNECA,
- Training and scholarships will be pursued and regional offices for geoscience informatics
pfoposed at existing university campuses.
- GIRAF will approach the organisers of the next Colloquium on African Geology (CAG)/
Capetown to propose a session on geoscience information and volunteer to organise
- GIRAF will approacH the organisers of the 34th IGC in Australia to propose the concept
of a Special Symposium on African geoscience information and volunteer to organise
that Symposium and to seek Geohost funding in particular for African participants.
- The progress of GIRAF and its recommendations will be presented at the IGC in
Australia in 2012.
- We, the GIRAF community, will develop strategies to provide mutual assistance to
implement GIRAF aims and build participant capacity to ensure the success of our
This agreement was produced and unanimously endorsed by participants at the
GIRAF 2009 Workshop in Windhoek, Namibia, 20 March 2009.