Europe has a unique position in the world stemming from its long-standing interaction with all countries in the world, adherence to universal humanistic values and the will as well as capacity in mobilising knowledge towards sustainable development, economic growth and competitiveness. The European research area (ERA) and its international dimension provide a powerful opportunity for defining Europe's role in S&T for its own sustainable development as well as its partner regions and the global level.The EU's pioneering experience in promoting N-S and S-S partnerships in science and technology as well as human and institutional capacity building is a valuable asset upon which Europe may build its future relationship with its partner in the developing world based on the principle of mutual interest. As the international S&T cooperation programme (INCO) believes that knowledge cannot be reduced to the status of a commodity that must be produced to remove a development bottle-neck it seeks to include the knowledge system of developing countries in the generation and use of development relevant knowledge. This is the preferred approach of INCO research efforts, reflecting its philosophy of promoting active partnerships in RTD.
The Joint Africa-EU Strategy, adopted in Lisbon in December 2007, provides a long-term vision for a strategic partnership between Africa and the European Union. The EC is supporting Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) as part of its EU Development and Research policies. The 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technology – Food Agriculture and Biotechnologies (FP7-FAB) and the Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP) are the two main instruments contributing to the support of ARD at the global, continental and sub-regional level. As such, the EC has facilitated a consultation between European and African ARD experts, organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD), making use of their existing Platform for African – European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD). The workshop was supported and facilitated by CTA. The general objective of the consultation was to establish priority areas of cooperation to increase the impact of agricultural research and knowledge systems on rural productivity, poverty reduction, food security and sustainable management of natural resources. More specifically, it was to identify targeted research topics and activities, taking into account the 10 broad priority areas to be funded in 2009 and beyond by FP7-FAB and the FSTP global non-CGIAR components in order to assure coherence, complementarily and synergy among the two programmes.