The African Union Ministerial Conference in charge of Science and Technology (AMCOST) has repeatedly called for better understanding of, and improvement in, the state of ST&I (science, technology and innovation) on the continent. These recurrent calls have been embodied in the outcomes of AMCOST decisions over the last decade. The African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) initiative is a response to AMCOST calls to address the lack of evidence-based policy processes. The African Innovation Outlook is an outcome of the implementation of the ASTII initiative. It is published as the first in a series, intended to inform the people of Africa and other interested parties about ST&I activities in African countries. The report has six chapters, dealing with economic and human development challenges for ST&I; research and development (R&D) activities; innovation; bibliometric analysis of scientific output; and recommendations to address the challenges identified in it. The report can be found here. (AU-NEPAD, 23/5/2011)
African delegates to the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) agreed on a common position on animal health standards. The Interafrican Bureau for Animal resources of the African Union (AU-IBAR), under the scope of the project Participation of African Nations in Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standard Setting Organizations (PAN-SPSO), convened the third meeting for OIE delegates, Directors of Veterinary Services (DVS) and Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) from 2nd to 4th May 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Pan-African meeting examined the proposed changes of the OIE Terrestrial and Aquatic Codes submitted for adoption at the 79th General Session of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates scheduled for Paris, France from 22nd to 27th May 2011. The African OIE Delegates and the representatives of RECs agreed on common positions that the 52 African member countries of OIE will present in Paris.
AllAfrica.com news reports on science and technology in Africa.
EUCARINET is a four-year INCONET Coordination Action, supported by the European Commission (DG RTD-INCO), whose main goal is to strengthen bi-regional sustainable dialogue on Science and Technology between Europe and the Caribbean. Researchers can find an overview of each Caribbean sub-region and the major relevance of R&D plus some interesting links to institutions fostering research and cooperation. It also hosts a database of all research publications from all Caribbean countries/territories except Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands for the period 1999-2009 (based on the Web of Science (WoS,®) online database of Thomson Reuters).
Following the recommendation of the Ministers of Agriculture, Science and Technology at the FARA General Assembly in July 2010, FARA invited African Ministers to a special Dialogue on 28-29 April 2011 at the Secretariat in Accra. The delegates agreed on the way forward for agricultural research, education and extension in Africa, including a financial commitment to FARA’s agenda and mechanism to ensure FARA’s accountability to the Ministers. The recommendations emanating from the Dialogue are enumerated in a special Communiqué. http://www.fara-africa.org/media/uploads/File/ministerial_dialogue/communique_of_the_1st_dialogue_of_ministers-english.pdf
The Global Database on the Implementation of Nutrition Action (GINA) is an interactive platform for sharing standardized information on nutrition policies and action, i.e. what are the commitments made and who is doing what, where, when, why and how (including lessons learnt). Users can apply this tool to: Map nutrition policies and action; Link policies and action to nutrition status indicators; Monitor implementation of key nutrition action; Identify overlaps and gaps; Share experience on implementation practices. The GINA policy section tracks commitments to ensuring good nutrition demonstrated in policy documents. The documents are sometimes specific for nutrition, e.g. national nutrition policies or vitamin A strategies, other times they have a broader scope, e.g. health or agriculture sector strategies, development plans. They include policies, strategies, action plans and legislations. Visit GINA’s website.
A new Global Soil Partnership for Food security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation has been launched by the FAO early September 2011. Besides helping implement the provisions of the World Soil Charter, the Global Soil Partnership is intended to raise awareness and motivate action by decision-makers on the importance of soils for food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation. The partnership is also aimed at providing favourable policy environment and technical solutions for soil protection and management and at helping mobilize resources and expertise for joint activities and programmes. The Global Soil Partnership will complement the 15-year-old Global Water Partnership initiated by the UNDP and the World Bank in 1996 to coordinate the development and management of water, land, and related resources in order to maximise economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of vital environmental systems.(FAO, 7/9/2011)
INASP, International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications: Journals published in Africa.
By the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative, May 2011.This document provides practical, step-by-step guidance on how governments and other national actors can mainstream climate change adaptation into development planning as part of broader mainstreaming efforts. The guide draws on substantial experience and lessons learned by the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative in working with governments to integrate environmental management for pro-poor economic growth and development into national development planning and decision-making. A good number of examples are related to the agricultural sector in developing countries.
AFSTD was established by the NEPAD to promote the application of S&T for economic growth and poverty reduction. NEPAD is a pledge by African leaders, based on a common vision and a firm and shared conviction, that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development, and at the same time to participate actively in the world economy and body politic. African leaders explicitly recognize that Africa's economic recovery and the transition to sustainable development will not be achieved without investments in science and technology.
An Africa-wide forum for parliamentarians, the African Inter-Parliamentary Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (AIPF-ST&I), which aims to give science, technology and innovation (ST&I) a more central role in the policy-making process was launched 2 May 2011, on the sidelines of the Second Session of the Committee on Development Information, Science and Technology (CODIST-II), held in Ethiopia. Aida Opoku-Mensah, director of the ICT and science & technology division at UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said: ‘The move by parliamentarians to take interest in ST&I will help push its agenda within their governments so it gets due attention.’ She added that conversations between parliamentarians and scientists should lead to improved structures for research and development. The forum was launched as a result of collaboration between UNECA, the African Union, UNESCO, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and other partners. This is the first Africa-wide forum for parliamentarians with a central agenda of promoting ST&I.(Scidev via The Courier and University World News, 5/5/2011)
The Policy and Support Actions for Southern African Natural Product Partnership (POL-SABINA) is funded through the European Union Africa-Caribbean-Pacific (EU-ACP) programme. The project will develop a ‘Virtual Research Environment’ for SABINA; provide training courses and workshops on a number of topics such as project management and fund management. It will address intellectual property management in the SADC region. SABINA (Southern African Biochemistry and Informatics for Natural Products) is funded by the Carnegie Corporation as a regional initiative in science and education. The programme aims to grow human capacity in natural products research through training of PhD and MSc students in the partner institutions.
Many governments are tempted to impose fertilizer subsidies to reduce fertilizer prices, but in an environment riddled with inefficiencies that contribute to the high costs of using fertilizers, the introduction of subsidies only adds more fiscal burden. This new publication from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) is a study that identifies a key set of policy options for improving the efficiency of regional markets and lowering the transaction costs and fiscal burdens of fertilizer use in West Africa. The authors undertook four country case studies (Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal) to review the key constraints and bottlenecks along the fertilizer supply chain. This paper is based on the country case study results, complemented by a literature review and analysis of secondary data sources. Reference: Bumb, Balu L.; Johnson, Michael E. and Fuentes, Porfirio A.; IFPRI Discussion paper 01084; May 2011.
PAERIP is a dedicated initiative to promote research infrastructure partnerships between Europe and Africa. There is currently significant political attention on promoting science and technology partnerships between the European Union and Africa. The Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy, adopted by Heads of Government at the December 2007 Lisbon Summit, notably includes a dedicated Science, Information Society and Space initiative. Several collaborative efforts are currently being implemented under this Partnership, with the support of the African Union Commission, the European Commission and African and European Union Member States. None of these initiatives are, however, specifically addressing research infrastructures. The ‘Promoting African European Research Infrastructure Partnerships’ (PAERIP) project is specifically focused on addressing this void notably by undertaking a series of relevant studies, which will inform the organisation of policy dialogue and cooperation promotion events.
ST&I Global Forum Action Plan : CP-building partnerships for sustainable developmentBy the World Bank’s STI Global Expert Team (STI GET).The World Bank, in collaboration with a number of partners, convened a 'Global Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) Capacity Building Partnerships for Sustainable Development' in Washington, D.C. in December 2009. The objectives of the Forum were to (i) explore how well designed partnerships could promote inclusive globalization by helping developing countries build the ST&I capacity they need to address their social and economic objectives; and (ii) develop an Action Plan outlining how the World Bank, in collaboration with other stakeholders and development partners, could design, finance, and implement the new game-changing partnership ideas emerging from the Forum.The Action Plan explains how the Bank and its development partners can help developing countries build the ST&I capacity they need to: 1) Foster ‘inclusive innovations’ focused on the needs of the three or four billion people at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP); 2) Convert ST&I capacity into business opportunities and move ideas from the lab to the market via the establishment of Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship Centers; 3) Train the next generation of knowledge workers and teachers for the global and local knowledge economy
The Global Plant Council is a coalition of plant science societies of the world that brings plant scientists together to work synergistically toward solving the pressing problems facing humankind and that speaks with a strong voice from a plant science perspective to inform the global debate on those problems. The mission of the Council is to define and engage in coordinated strategies that impact the most critical issues and to increase awareness of the central importance of plant science in addressing these issues. The shared vision and effort will enable more effective use of knowledge and resources, accelerating progress in solving the challenges of world hunger, energy, climate change, health and well-being, sustainability and environmental protection. The Council proposed that membership in GPC is for not-for-profit professional plant science societies/organizations, the key component being that the organization represents plant scientists.