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AERAP Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Forum, 7 - 10 March 2023
The Forum will be designed to inform and engage with policymakers to ensure that the role and contribution of science, enabled through digital technologies, is reflected in European Union and its Member States’ policies concerning Africa. The meetings will also be designed to increase the level of participation and reinforce the networking by African nations’ with their partners in related EU programmes and science and innovation programmes supported by European Union member states and some associated countries. Digital capacities, existing and new, for expanding science inclusion and citizen participation by all groups in society across Africa, will be explored.
Key policy and programme developments include:
The meeting will address a range of themes, including Biodiversity Health, Medicine, Life Sciences, Geoscience, ICT, Digital Transformation, the Green Agenda, Women and Girls in science, Astronomy, reskilling and upskilling and Agri-food systems. In the Forum, we will examine the feedback loops between scientific funding, education funding, and digital transformation to support evidence for policymakers.

The meeting will also consider how emerging regulations covering data protection, medical devices, in-vitro diagnostics, and other areas impact science in Africa and science and innovation cooperation between Africa and the European Union.

The global context will be considered through the inclusion of speakers from the UN, OECD and other multilateral bodies.

The programme below is still in development so please check it regularly for updates.
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Thursday, March 9 • 11:00am - 1:00pm
(09521) Science for Food Systems Transformation in a Conflict Area - The Sahel

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Science for Food Systems Transformation in a Conflict Area
The current upsurge in violence and conflict in the Sahel is the manifestation of a broader and deeper ecological, economic and political crisis within as well as outside the sub Region with an impact on the Sahel. The EU refers to a situation of multiple crises and to its regional, cross-border nature, which makes it more challenging. The new EU strategy for the Sahel emphasises the need for a more comprehensive and contextual approach to addressing regional instability. It underscores the EU’s commitment to addressing the root causes of conflict and instability through an integrated approach. It also cautions for approaches that are sometimes based on inconclusive data, or formulated without available data, and that can result in inappropriate responses.
To address the numerous and interconnected challenges, a comprehensive multi-disciplinary analysis and synthesis at multiple scales is required as a basis for effective interventions. However, at this moment national and regional research capacity, funding and infrastructure are very scattered and fragile. Research (and thus knowledge) is fragmented into small, short-term projects that prevent national research institutions from building new long-term multi-disciplinary research capacity, programmes and infrastructure and updating existing capacity. Policymakers and development agencies lack access to quality research findings for different target groups or lack possibilities to create such that provide evidence for their intervention portfolio. Therefore, substantial investment in context context-relevantg and research is required to connect the dots between high-level research and applied contextualised research in order to generate localized evidence. This knowledge should feed a true trans-Sahelian and transdisciplinary reflection making it possible to seek avenues for a more positive trajectory for the region. Dedicated actions are also needed to ensure that such evidence will become the basis for future policies and development programmes.
The session will discuss how we can jointly develop a Centre of multi-disciplinary training and research in Food Systems Transformation in a Fragile Zone. This Centre would be a regional hub for data, science, innovation and lifelong learning dedicated to Sahelian challenges and opportunities. A virtual focal point where researchers, policymakers, private sector, CSOs and development practitioners can easily obtain and co-create relevant information on transformation pathways.
Speakers will be from the Sahel research community, Sahel Coalition, Club du Sahel, EC, Wageningen University & Research and other.

avatar for Vincenzo Lorusso

Vincenzo Lorusso

Policy Officer, DG Research, European Commission
Vincenzo Lorusso works as a Policy Officer at the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation (DG RTD), where he is in charge of Research and Innovation cooperation with Africa and, bilaterally, with ASEAN countries. Before joining the Commission, Vincenzo worked for eight years... Read More →
avatar for Triona McCormack

Triona McCormack

Director of Research; Member of the Taskforce on Rural Africa and the oversight committee for Ireland's strategy on Africa, UCD
Triona leads the team at University College Dublin (UCD) responsible for research strategy, management and operations. She also currently co-chairs the UCD strategic theme on Creating a Sustainable Global Society. Prior to joining UCD, Triona was Director of Consulting for Ireland... Read More →
avatar for Han van Dijk

Han van Dijk

professor, Wageningen University
Han van Dijk is profesor at the Sociology of Development and Change Group, Wageningen University. His research focuses on political decentralization, land tenure, natural resource management and farmer-herder strategies in response to climate variability and development policy mainly... Read More →
avatar for Mohamed Abdallahi Ould BABAH EBBE

Mohamed Abdallahi Ould BABAH EBBE

Directeur Général, l'Institut du Sahel (INSAH) / CILLS
avatar for Sarah LAWAN


External Relations Advisor, Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC/OECD)
Sarah Lawan is currently Advisor for External Relations at the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC). She is in charge of the relationships with Members and partners of the Club as well as the valorisation of the SWAC’s productions. Prior to joining the SWAC in 2019, she was Advisor... Read More →

Thursday March 9, 2023 11:00am - 1:00pm CET
Embassy of South Africa, Belgium