(Source: European Commission)
Dear hosts of the 6th Summit of the African Union and the European Union,
Dear African Union representatives,
Ladies and Gentleman,
I am delighted to introduce this event at the Africa-Europe Week.
Cooperation on science, technology and innovation is a key component of our partnership and underpins advances in many policy domains, such as the digital and green transitions or health policies.
This event is an opportunity to present and discuss the scientific work on Africa conducted by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in close collaboration with a variety of African and other international partners.
Science is an engine for progress. Sharing scientific knowledge supports a stronger and more resilient society, providing opportunities for young people and enhancing gender equality.
In May last year the Commission adopted a Communication on its Global Approach to Research and Innovation.
The European Union aims at supporting international research and innovation partnerships while promoting multilateralism, openness and reciprocity in our cooperation with the rest of the world and in particular with Africa.
You can count on the EU to work together with Africa to find global responses to global challenges, such as climate change or pandemics, and to strengthen multilateral research and innovation partnerships.
To make sure that researchers can cooperate across borders as easily as possible, we need reciprocal open access to research programmes.
Providing access to information is the first step towards a more inclusive and fair society. We will actively engage with partners who share these values and principles to work together.
Today we are showcasing the new Africa Knowledge Platform, a single entry-point to the depth and breadth of the knowledge. We have several activities, which make knowledge on Africa available in different domains, such as on Global Food and Nutrition Security or on Disaster Risk Management.
The new Africa platform, focuses on spatial data. By bringing together information across different domains, it will facilitate embracing the multidisciplinary approach required to face current and future complexity.
This event will dive deeper into some of the scientific activities, notably on strategic investment, water resource management, biodiversity, use of Earth observation, climate-related risks, policy analysis in the agri-food sector, access to clean energy, and nuclear safety and security.
For example, in the area of agriculture and food security, the Joint Research Centre together with the African Union Commission analysed the impacts of the African Continental Free Trade Area, showing positive impacts on economic development and food availability.
The JRC is also mobilising its capacities on Earth observation, deforestation monitoring and economic analysis to support the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative promoted by the European Commission.
I trust this event will be of great interest to both specialised audiences and the public. I wish you all a very fruitful discussion, and I invite you to share your comments and ideas for potential future collaborations.