Policy Support Facility

Launch of the Policy Support Facility (PSF) service with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC): Regional Research and Innovation Strategy for the IOC.

The  Indian Ocean Commission will benefit from the Policy Support Facility (PSF), set up by the Secretariat of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), to support in the development of  a regional research and innovation (R&I) strategy alliigned with the needs and challenges specific to the Indian Ocean region and its member states.

The official launch of this  Policy Support Facility (PSF) service with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) was held online on 16 February 2024 at the presence of around 30 members of the consultative team (senior officials from R&I authorities from IOC member states), representatives from the IOC, the OACPS Secretariat, the European Union, and experts.

In all its dimensions, society requires a greater infusion of science to confront significant social and economic challenges, thereby facilitating evidence-based decision-making. These challenges not only drive interdisciplinary collaboration but also give rise to groundbreaking innovations. These necessitate regional collaboration to address social challenges and achieve sustainable development goals, complementing efforts already undertaken by national policies. The regional R&I strategy will focus on addressing shared concerns related to climate, oceans, and digital challenges. Simultaneously, it will take into account the diverse R&I ecosystems of IOC member states.

In this sense, during the welcome remarks of the launch, the Secretary-General of the Indian Ocean Commission, Dr. Vêlayoudom Marimoutou, affirmed that “the research and innovation strategy, for which we are mobilising your collective intelligence, must aim to create a pool of skills on all island issues that meet the challenges of sustainable socio-economic progress in the island states of the Indian Ocean and Africa in general….with a view to making research and innovation a pillar of the future for Indianocean, three priority sectors have been identified: energy, information and communication technologies, and green chemistry – I would even go so far as to say blue chemistry, which involves applying the principles of green chemistry to marine biomass”.

Echoing this sentiment, the Assistant Secretary General of the OACPS, Dr. Ibrahim Norbert Richard, in his video message underlined that “We are convinced that this strategy will contribute not only to meeting today’s common challenges, such as climate change, but also to seizing the emerging opportunities that will shape our future. This strategy will be guided by the priority of transforming the region into a reservoir of expertise on all island issues, while responding to the societal and contemporary challenges of the island states of the Indian Ocean and Africa”.

In his intervention on behalf of the European Union, H.E. Mr Oskar Benedikt, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius, reaffirmed the importance of a regional research and innovation strategy in 3 key sectors:  climate change, ocean and digitalization. He also pointed out that “it is therefore urgent and important for the region to develop a common strategy that will provide innovative solutions appropriate and adapted to the specific characteristics of the region through research and innovation, which will enable the country to tackle more effectively the effects of climate change”.

H.E. Benedikt also mentioned the different ongoing efforts between the EU and COI. In this framework are inscribed the efforts done through the OACPS R&I Programme to boost research and innovation R&I and for further development of the Waste-to-Energy (WtE) sector, such as through the ACP Innovation Fund project ‘Transformation of the waste sector towards a waste-energy nexus in the Southwest Indian Ocean region (TWENex)’.

After official remarks, the Chair of the expert panel, Mr Basudeb Chaudhuri, provided a comprehensive overview of the significance of this PSF service in shaping the regional research and innovation strategy and further elucidated the service details, outlining the methodology and the schedule of activities that will guide the development of the strategy.

During the event, representatives from IOC member states, who are members of the consultative team from Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Reunion, provided a comprehensive overview of the current state of Research and Innovation in their respective countries. This information will play a pivotal role in guiding the experts as they embark on their tasks, a process set to unfold until September 2024, ensuring that their efforts are tailored to address the unique challenges and opportunities presented by each member state within the Indian Ocean Commission.

Officially launched today, this service is the tenth one of the Policy Support Facility (PSF) (after Lesotho, Mauritania, The Gambia, Timor-Leste, Kenya, Cameroon, Guinee, MLE on R&I policies and Togo), initiated in January 2021, by the  EU-funded OACPS Research and Innovation Programme, to enhance the quality and efficiency of R&I policy systems.

For more information on this PSF service, please download:

Factsheet of the PSF service for the Indian Ocean Commission

Presentation of the Experts Panel

Please also visit the page of our website dedicated to this PSF service.