Higher education Conference European
On 1-2 April, the ACP Secretariat and EU Commission co-hosted a joint stakeholders conference for three key ACP-EU Programmes financed under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) cycle – EDULINK II, ACP Science & Technology II, and the ACP Caribbean & Pacific Research Programme for Sustainable Development. More than 300 participants heard presentations of various projects, followed by discussions and interactive information sessions.“The development challenges confronted by our States are numerous and multidisciplinary. They require the participation of all relevant stakeholders and development partners to chart out solutions, with the ultimate objective of improving the social and economic well being of our people in ACP States, ” said ACP Assistant Secretary General in charge of Political Affairs and Human Development Mme. Michele Dominique Raymond.
From the 10th EDF, 47 projects have been co-financed by the EDULINK programme, 21 by ACP S&T, and 10 under the ACP Caribbean & Pacific Research Programme for Sustainable Development, comprising a total sum of nearly EUR 50 million.
These include initiatives such as training for researchers in Kenya and Malawi in modern technologies and innovation to boost coffee productivity, or linking universities in Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda and Denmark to help enhance competitiveness of agribusiness in East and West Africa. Another involves capacity building for Higher Education Institutions in Fiji, Mauritius and Papua New Guinea to provide high level skills training for the energy labour market, linking up with the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany.
Meanwhile, a partnership between the University of West Indies and climate change research centres in Italy and the Caribbean targets multi-stakeholder climate change adaptation strategies in the water and sanitation sector for Small Island Developing States.
“Knowledge development and innovation requires financial investments. As such, ACP institutions need to devise innovative funding mechanisms to meet the challenges of research, development and innovation, ” Mme. Raymond told the meeting.
She underlined the commitment and contribution of the European Union, represented at the event by Head of Unit at EU Commission's DG DEVCO, Mr. Denis Salord, and encouraged project stakeholders to share positive results and good practices with policy makers, and work to ensure sustainability of their projects beyond the end of EU funding.
Mme Raymond said the pursuit of excellence in standards of higher education, science and research is "an indispensable catalyst" in transforming the lives of the 900 million plus people represented by the ACP Group of States.