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Wednesday, 04 December 2013

EU and Africa to forge research and innovation partnership on food security

The European Union and Africa should work towards a long term, jointly-funded research and innovation partnership to promote food and nutrition security as a first priority, senior officials agreed at talks in Brussels today. The meeting of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on science, technology and innovation was called to review cooperation and set new priorities ahead of the EU-Africa Summit 2014. The new partnership could be inspired by the achievements of the successful European and Developing Countries' Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).
Both the European Union and African Union are in the process of developing new, long-term research and innovation agendas. The African Union is reforming its Consolidated Plan of Action on Science and Technology into a decadal Strategy on Science, Technology and Innovation (STISA 2024). The EU, as part of its smart, sustainable and inclusive growth agenda, will in January launch Horizon 2020, its biggest ever research and innovation funding programme with a budget of some €79 billion over seven years. Science, technology and innovation cooperation is therefore expected to feature at the next EU-Africa summit.
On 11 December, the European Commission intends to launch the first calls under Horizon 2020 in support of this decision. Focus areas will include sustainably enhancing the agro-food chain, the contribution of family farms and smallholder farms, and water management issues for sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security. Money will also be set aside to support enhancing EU-Africa cooperation in other areas, including research infrastructures.
Separately, on 25 November DG Research and Innovation hosted in Brussels a conference with stakeholders from the policy, business and research community of 30 different African and European countries to discuss the “Economic Opportunities on Turning Waste into a Resource”. The participants supported the idea of developing a joint European and African research and innovation agenda on waste management, including food waste.

Source: European Commission