Meetings and conferences

Eastern African quaternary climate change and variability

Organizer(s) International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme
In person

Conference themes will include:

-Late Pleistocene-Holocene climate variability
-Quaternary rainfall variability and human-environment interactions/adaptations in East Africa
-Habitat and paleo-environmental reconstruction of pre-historic sites (paleobotany, isotopes, fauna, sedimentology)
-The Quaternary fossil and archaeological record of eastern Africa
-Climate and gobal change – impacts, adaptation and vulnerability assessment for eastern Africa
-Eastern African Quaternary geology
-Highland ecosystems
-Heritage resource governance for sustainable development


The Eastern African Quaternary Research Association (EAQUA) was formed to enhance the growth of the Quaternary Science community in the eastern African region through training and promotion of collaborative research. In addition, the association was intended to facilitate active communication on Quaternary research issues and information exchange on palaeoclimate, palaeoenvironment, archaeology, palaeontology, palaeoanthropology, and geology in the region, through biannual meetings.

The first three meetings, held between 2007 and 2011 in Kampala (Uganda), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Zanzibar (Tanzania), brought together Quaternary scholars from eastern Africa and international researchers working in the region, who deliberated on themes related to various aspects of the Quaternary period. These workshops established that there were local and regional variations in climate over the last 2000 years, and suggested multidisciplinary approaches for better understanding, in addition to assessing the impacts of global and climate change, vulnerability and adaptations.

The status of on and off shore Quaternary research over the last 100,000 years has also been discussed, elaborating on the available marine and lacustrine records, techniques and methods for Quaternary research, palaeoclimate and vegetation reconstruction as well as recent trends in climate change. In addition, a joint EAQUA/INQUA workshop shared with participants the focus, roles and opportunities available to EAQUA members in the various INQUA Commissions. The association formally ratified its constitution, elected an executive committee, and registered its secretariat in Kampala, Uganda.

It is noted that studies conducted in the eastern African region for earlier period of the Quaternary more than 100,000 years ago remain unexhaustively explored. The fourth EAQUA workshop to be hosted by the National Museums of Kenya in Nanyuki, Kenya in July 2013 will therefore highlight the research conducted for the earlier periods of the Quaternary, with specific reference to the highland areas of eastern Africa.

The earth's system has experienced considerable climatic and environmental change over the last 2.6 million years, influencing its landscapes, ecosystems and socio-cultural systems. Eastern Africa was at the center of hominid and cultural evolution during this period, and has produced large amounts of evidence for faunal (animal and hominids included), physiological and cultural adaptations to changing climates and environments. In addition, geological (volcanic, tectonic and sedimentological) activities in the earth’s crust and surface have continued to shape the landscapes and influence climates and environments and vice versa. Climatic and environmental changes in eastern Africa and the rest of the world necessitated physiological and socio-cultural adaptations.

The ongoing work on palaeoclimate, palaeoenvironment, archaeology, palaeontology and palaeoanthropology in the region needs to be enhanced and complimented by more multidisciplinary research to correlate the evidences from these fields, and needs to be shared and networked for a clearer understanding of the attendant climatic and environmental changes and associated adaptations.

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Country and region Kenya Africa
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