Over the past seven months, fifteen countries have actively engaged in the exchange of knowledge and experiences on how to successfully develop and implement R&I policies and strategies. This intensive knowledge-sharing voyage unfolded as part of the first Mutual Learning Exercise (MLE) within the Policy Support Facility of the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) organised jointly with the UN Interagency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for SDGs Workstream 6 on Capacity Building (UN IATT WS6).
On October 30th 2023, the collaborative effort that commenced in February 2023 with its launch event in Addis Ababa, culminated in an online Final Event. This event saw active participation from approximately 30 directors and senior official on Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) from around 15 participating countries.
During the event, it was presented the final draft of the Handbook, containing the valuable information gathered during these exchanges. This Handbook is intended to serve as a comprehensive guide for countries seeking to successfully develop and implement R&I policies and strategies. It underscores the critical role of R&I policies in national development, identifies gaps in these areas, and offers recommendations on possible approaches to address them, with the ultimate aim of fostering transformative change
Reflecting on the seven-month journey , Ms Aya Kasasa, senior expert of the OACPS Secretariat, on behalf of Dr. Norbert Richard Ibrahim, Assistant Secretary General of the Political Affairs and Human Development Department at the OACPS Secretariat applauded the “foundation we have laid through this Mutual Learning Exercise is a testament to the power of collaboration, the dedication of our member countries, and the invaluable partnerships we have forged with organizations like the United Nations.” The OACPS Secretariat is the implementing authority of the OACPS R&I Programme, of which the Policy Support Facility is a key component.
Ms Kasasa also emphasized the significance of the Handbook, underlining the fact that it will serve “as a comprehensive guide, providing our member countries with the knowledge and tools necessary to drive innovation, bolster research, and align their policies with the global and regional vision for sustainable development.”
The European Commission, represented by Ms Simona Mari, senior expert in R&I from DGINTPA, expressed particular satisfaction with the inclusivity of the MLE. Ms Mari particularly appreciated its extension beyond countries that had previously received support from the Policy Support Facility (PSF), as it actively involved other participant countries in this collaborative effort. She also expressed satisfaction at witnessing the synergies and collaborations that have evolved throughout the MLE and highlighted that these recommendations come at an opportune time as the European Union (EU) is currently in the process of shaping new actions as part of the broader African-Europe Global Gateway Investment Package.
The EU is the funding authority of the OACPS R&I Programme.
Mr. Dimo Calovsky, the Co-chair of the UN IATT WS6, expressed sincere appreciation for the enriching learning activities and emphasized the need to prioritize policies in R&I, which have often been overlooked in international collaboration. He underscored the significance of involving the right agencies and experts in this MLE. Additionally, he lauded the Handbook, which adeptly addresses the prevalent challenges in the field of R&I.
The UN IATT WS6 is a partner of the Secretariat of the OACPS in the implementation of this first MLE.
Following the opening remarks, the main insights of the handbook were presented by Dr. Chux Daniels, the Chair of the expert panel. These insights are the culmination of seven months of intense work conducted by the Expert Panel. They meticulously compiled and analyzed all the information and inputs shared during the exchange meeting of Addis Ababa, an online exchange on July 27, 2023, written inputs received by countries, and enhanced their findings through comprehensive desktop research, benchmarking, and insightful interviews.
Other valuable insights were provided by participants during the discussions at the final event. These inputs will be thoughtfully incorporated into the final version of the Handbook, which will soon be ready for publication.
+ info on this service on our OACPS website: http://ow.ly/gpb850MRBOi
+ info on the two parts of this event on the UN IATT webpage: http://bit.ly/3Iofdao
The OACPS Research and Innovation Programme, implemented by the OACPS Secretariat with financial support from the European Union, contributes to unlock innovation in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, through:
- An Innovation Fund to foster a conducive R&I environment;
- A Policy Support Facility to enhance the quality and efficiency of R&I systems;
- An interactive Web Portal to cross-fertilise knowledge and experiences.