HLPD stakeholder event on 19 October in Brussels

Get impressions of the event: conference video

A shared vision and common objectives between Africa and Europe regarding Research and Innovation (R&I) laid the foundation for the adoption of a Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES, 2007). The implementation of this joint strategy, between partners on a par, is accompanied by a dialogue forum of decision makers, the African Union-European Union High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). The dialogue serves as a platform for regular exchanges on R&I policies and aims to formulate and implement long-term priorities to strengthen Africa-Europe cooperation on STI. RINEA inter alia serves as support structure to enrich and accompany the formal and informal processes of this bi‐regional policy dialogue.

Hence, RINEA was requested to organise - on behalf of and in close cooperation with the European Commission - a stakeholder forum back-to-back with the latest HLPD Meeting. Here, a new roadmap on Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (CCSE) (pdf, 347 KB) was adopted by the member states as the second priority for the STI-Partnership between both continents. Launched in the wave of the renewed momentum created by the United Nations Paris Agreement and the subsequent COP22 conference, it will be fully contributing to the targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As a first step, through the next Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 a budget of €40 million is dedicated to Africa-targeted actions in the areas of climate services and renewable energy.

The stakeholder forum on 19 October brought together nearly 200 African and European participants in Brussels. The meeting was opened by representatives of the European Commission, who highlighted the value of the ongoing collaboration and who took stock of the results generated so far through the first partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) launched in 2016. The now adopted second priority area will provide direction for the next strategic steps in this partnership and the development of further joint activities.

In 15 workshops stakeholders of the partnership were invited to present success stories, discuss challenges and elaborate on future strategies in their respective fields (download Agenda HLPD stakeholder event). This also encompassed detailed presentations of proceedings and results in connection with the roadmap on FNSSA. Including several pillars (from sustainable intensification to nutrition, agricultural markets or trade) the partnership integrates capacity building –human, institutional and research infrastructures– and innovation processes and it is worth some €70 million to this date. An additional budget of €90 million is earmarked for the partnership in the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020. An overall evaluation of this first year of the partnership was discussed and lessons were taken in order to further increase impact and coherence of the multiple actions launched and of the ones to be launched in the future.

With regards to the new roadmap on CCSE, existing international projects on climate research presented their work. Plans and ideas on how this second priority of the STI-Partnership could be mutually designed and implemented were in the focus of workshops organised by the Directorates General (DG) of the European Commission on Research&Innovation and Energy respectively. Initiatives on Management Education and the Strengthening of Research Management and open science complemented the previous areas.

At the end of a fruitful day, the closing remarks by a representative of the African Union Commission underlined the importance of the dialogue between researchers and policy makers on both continents, the HLPD as official instrument and the value created for all stakeholders involved in the Africa-EU Partnership on STI by dialogue fora like the stakeholder meeting.

Video: Interviews and impressions of the HLPD stakeholder event