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International Conference on Aquatic Science Libraries opens

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Accra, July 14, GNA - Aquatic librarians in the West Africa Sub-Region were on Monday urged to be abreast with current trends of information technology to be more knowledgeable in disseminating accurate information on aquatic marine resources.

Professor Emmanuel Owusu-Bennoah, Acting Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), said, "water is life and the life of millions of Africans depends on the way they handle the vital scientific information concerning the natural wealth for posterity".

Prof. Owusu-Bennoah said this when he opened the first conference of the Africa Regional Group for members of the International Association of Aquatic Sciences Libraries and Information Centre (IAMSLIC) under the theme: "Promoting the Use of Aquatic and Marine Science Information in Africa for Change."

The three-day conference with participants from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Guinea and Mauritania, would develop strategies that would facilitate efficient and effective provision and application of aquatic and marine science information.

The participants would also discuss issues of common interest in the provision and application of aquatic and marine science information in the Sub- Region.

Prof Owusu-Bennoah: "If Africa is to succeed in the change process of moving forward in the pursuit of a prosperous and better living conditions for her citizens, much attention should be paid to the generation and application of scientific information."

He charged the participants to establish networks that would promote the sharing of most efficient management of the aquatic and marine resources in support of the socio-economic advancement of the Region.

Professor Naba Alemna, Chief Librarian of the University of Ghana, Legon, said harnessing information at all levels of government was necessary for the success of programmes of sustainable development. He, therefore, urged them to focus on how aquatic and marine libraries and resource centres should embrace new Internet and communication technologies to enable scientists, students and the general public to access the most up-to-date information around the world.

He urged participants to provide direct locations and access to aquatic and marine science literature, assemble data and provide factual information to users from databases for wider and more rapid access to systematic science and technology information.

Mrs Marian Jiagge, Interim Chairperson of the Africa Regional Group of IAMSLIC, said aquatic and marine science was the knowledge behind the production function of aquatic ecosystem for water, food and the environment and called for the efficient and effective management of all information about water resources development.

Dr Charles Biney, Director of the Water Research Institute of the CSIR, said the poor handling and management of water in the Sub-Region had led to the scarcity of fresh water.

He called on Africans to protect water bodies "or else there would a time when we would not even get fresh water to drink".

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