AfriAlliance Newsletter no. 1
AfriAlliance Project Coordinator's Note
On behalf of the whole AfriAlliance team, I am pleased to introduce the first AfriAlliance Newsletter!
The AfriAlliance project aims to better prepare Africa for future climate change challenges by having African and European stakeholders work together in the areas of water innovation, research, policy, and capacity development. We look forward to keeping you informed and up-to-date about our activities with our new AfriAlliance newsletter which we will issue quarterly from now on.
This first newsletter features the upcoming events at which you will be able to meet AfriAlliance partners - not least the first AfriAlliance Conference which we will hold in March in South Africa.
In the recent events section, we are looking back at some notable events and activities during the first year of AfriAlliance.
In our Partner News item, INBO reports on the role that it had as the official facilitator of a COP22 high level event dedicated to water. And we introduce UNESCO-IHE in its role as coordinator of AfriAlliance.
Read further for details - for daily updates, follow us on Twitter @AfriAlliance1.
All the best,
The Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate (AfriAlliance), is a 5-year project funded by the European Union’s H2020 Research and Innovation Programme. It aims to improve African preparedness for climate change challenges by stimulating knowledge sharing and collaboration between African and European stakeholders.
The kick-off meeting of AfriAlliance was organized in Delft (The Netherlands) on the 2nd and 3rd March 2016, at UNESCO-IHE headquarters. It gave EU and African AfriAlliance partners the opportunity to meet face-to-face, exchange ideas and to plan the first year of the project in detail. All 16 consortium partners were present:
- African partners:
- AfWA, ICLEI, GWP, 2iE , WRC, CSIR, INBO, WASCAL, WaterNet (lead partner in charge of knowledge sharing and technology transfer), AfriWater CoP
- EU partners:
- WE&B (lead partner in charge of the Action Groups), UNESCO-IHE (project leader and lead partner in charge of project management), OIEAU (lead partner in charge of identification and matching of innovation needs and solutions), Akvo, ITC, WssTP, BothEnds
Upcoming Events: Meet AfriAlliance Partners!
First AfriAlliance Conference
1st AfriAlliance Conference will be held from 22-24 March 2017 in Ekurhuleni (near Johannesburg), South-Africa, and serves as the inaugural meeting of the AfriAlliance innovation alliance. The first AfriAlliance Conference will be hosted by the Local Climate Solutions for Africa (LoCS4Africa) 2017 Congress on Water and Climate, organized by ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, Africa Secretariat, in partnership with Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.
For more information about the conference, visit the conference website: http://locs4africa.iclei.org/launch-of-afrialliance/
To register, visit the dedicated webpage: http://locs4africa.iclei.org/checkout/?add-to-cart=2973.
African Great Lakes Conference
This conference will be organized in Entebbe, Uganda, between the 2nd and the 5th of May 2017, and will address the topic: "Conservation and development in a changing climate". AfriAlliance participation in this international conference will include the organization of a third Workshop on “Social innovation needs in water and climate: regional priorities in Africa”. The main objective of this side-event is to identify a list of concrete social innovation demands in need of technological and non-technological solutions to address Climate Change impacts and water related issues. The workshop will gather an audience of around 20 people with a wide range of different profiles (scientists, conservation practitioners, resource managers, etc.), given the diversity of participants to this international conference: representatives from national agencies in charge of water management, basin Organizations and other lake basin management groups of the region’s major lakes (Lake Albert, Lake Edward, Lake Kivu, Lake Malawi/Nyasa/Niassa, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Turkana and Lake Victoria), multi-lateral agencies, academic institutions, the private sector and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
The conference is the first of its kind in close to twenty years. The event is organized by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the government of Uganda and the support of a long list of partners including the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO). It aims to link science and best practices to solutions for conservation and sustainable development of the African Great Lakes region in a changing climate. Spanning 850,000 km2 of ecosystems which sustain more than 50 million people in parts of 12 countries, the region boasts high biological diversity, yet faces critical challenges to human and lake health, all within the context of a changing climate. It will bring together local and regional perspectives on the following six themes:
- Climate Change Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation, and Resilience
- Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Benefits
- Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Management
- Population Dynamics, Health, and the Environment
- Balancing Conservation and Development
- Basin Governance and Financing
For more information about the conference, and to sign up to receive updates, visit the African Great Lakes conference website http://www.greatlakesofafrica.org/ or contact Dr. Modesta Medard: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent AfriAlliance Events
Launch of the AfriAlliance website
In September 2016, the AfriAlliance consortium was proud to launch its new online platform. As AfriAlliance is an alliance of many partners and networks in Africa and Europe, a central platform for information exchange is crucial for the success of the project.
The new website includes information on the Alliance and its activities, such as news sections, Twitter feeds, an events calendar, links to Akvopedia and the EIP Water Online Market Place. Recently, an area devoted to the Action Groups was added where they are able to share information about their activities, using the Akvo Really Simple Reporting (RSR) system.
The AfriAlliance online platform will continue to be extended throughout the lifetime of the project according to the needs of the Alliance. We would also love to hear your opinion on the site and its functionalities. Please contact us via email@example.com, subscribe to our newsletter or comment on the news items and blogs.
Launch of AfriAlliance Action Groups
Under the framework of the project, Action Groups (also commonly referred to as a Community of Practice) receive support, through seed-money and outreach opportunities, to assist in identifying and addressing water and climate vulnerabilities. The Action Groups were designed to be bottom-up and demand driven allowing for local problems to be highlighted,
The Action Groups bring together relevant stakeholders (both African and European), to jointly engage in local problem identification, project development and knowledge co-creation on one of the following themes:
- Integrated Water Resource Management
- Food Security / Agriculture
- Human Capacity Development
- Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
- Water and Climate Data monitoring C,ollection Forecasting and Analysis
The first set of 5 AfriAlliance Action Groups were developed during the 2nd semester 2016. With the call for applications only open for one month, the response rate was phenomenal with a total of 125 applications received. The applications were processed and evaluated and the following top 5 Action Groups were selected and launched in September 2016:
- Upscaling Potential of Water Harvesting Across Africa (Lead by: Wageningen University, Netherlands),
- Integrated Water Resource Management and Ethics (Lead by: Rhodes University, South Africa),
- Efficient and Innovative Small Scale Irrigation (Lead by: The Ethiopian Institute of Water Resources -EIWR, Addis, Ethiopia),
- A4A -Arid African Alluvial Aquifers for Agriculture (Lead by: Mekelle University, Ethiopia),
- SIRAF (Sustainable Intensification for Resilience and Food Security (Lead by: IIED -International Institute for Environment and Development, United Kingdom).
The second set of 5 AfriAlliance Action Groups will be launched in Spring 2018. If you are interested in forming part of the theme development for these, attend the first AfriAlliance Conference (register here: http://locs4africa.iclei.org/checkout/?add-to-cart=2973) or get in touch with us at www.afrialliance.org or directly with the Action Group managers: www.weandb.org
Related articles on AfriAlliance website:
First AfriAlliance Innovation Bridge Event
Waternet organized in Gaborone (Botswana) AfriAlliance’s first out of five Innovation Bridge Events (IBE) in collaboration with the 17th WaterNet Symposium (26-28 October 2016) and the University of Botswana – Okavango Research Institute. The first IBE included:
- a water & climate change innovation exhibition on “Building Climate-Resilience in Agriculture and Water Sector”. The focus of this element was on both soft and hard technologies; technologies for farmers to cope better with drought i.e. new drought resistant crop varieties, making better use of scarce water, as with systems of drip irrigation, water retention and rainfall harvesting techniques. A cocktail concluded the exhibition,
- a plenary session on “Bridging the gap between innovators, industry, funding partners & policy makers” that included policy dialogues and plenary discussions. The discussions focused on Innovations & Technology in water and climate change, the challenges faced by innovators, industry, funding partners & policy makers, and possible solutions to these problems.
A second Innovation Bridge Event (IBE) will be organized in Africa in 2017 (exact location and schedule to be determined).
Related article on AfriAlliance website: http://migrate.akvotest.org/first-afrialliance-innovation-bridge-event-coming-up/.
AfriAlliance side-event at COP22
COP22 was the first COP to be held in Africa since Durban in 2011 and the United Nations and the Moroccan government had put a clear focus on water, with two days dedicated to the theme: Tuesday, 8th November for side-events and Wednesday, 9th November for the official high level Global Climate Action Water event. Over two weeks, the conference gathered 15.000 participants, including representatives from UN Member States (e.g. Ministry of environment, Ministry of foreign affairs), from international governmental organizations, from CSOs and NGOs admitted as Permanent Observers. The AfriAlliance consortium was represented in Marrakech, with the participation of OIEau (International Office for Water), INBO (International Network of Basin Organizations), ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) and GWP (Global Water Partnership).
OIEau organized, in partnership with INBO, a side-event entitled “Social innovation needs in water and climate: regional priorities in Africa” (Tuesday 8th November). It was held at the European Union Pavilion, a highly relevant host as AfriAlliance is a project funded by the European Commission. The event aimed at identifying and matching social innovation and research needs. It was structured as a workshop with a highly interactive setup. It started with a presentation of the AfriAlliance to help the participants get familiar with the project objectives and activities. It was then organized into sessions of questions and answers on the challenges and innovations in the field of water and climate change. Face to face semi-structured interviews were carried out at the end of the side-event.
The interesting contributions drawn from the experience of 20 participants (practitioners, policymakers and NGOs), in particular from Eastern and Western Africa, were much appreciated and brought good inputs to identification of short-medium term innovation needs of African practitioners.
Related article on AfriAlliance website: http://migrate.akvotest.org/news/afrialliance-workshop-at-cop22/.
Mr. Kabiné Komara (Former Prime Minister of Guinea, High Commissioner of the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River Basin) at COP22. One of the VIPs interviewed during AfriAlliance side-event at COP22 to identify social innovation needs and solutions (photo credit: Christiane Runel)
NBO: a greater role in COP
In September 2016 and in view of COP22, INBO was designated as the official facilitator of the COP22 high level event dedicated to water. This designation came in recognition of INBO’s role as manager of the Global network of pilot basin working on climate change adaptation (in partnership with UNECE) and as founder and manager of the “Paris Pact on water and adaptation to climate change in the basins of lakes, rivers and aquifers”. This document synthesizes principles and actions that need to be implemented for adaptation in basins. It has been signed by more than 357 signatory organizations from 94 countries which have also submitted projects with the objective of sharing good practices internationally, strengthening knowledge and enhancing the mobilization of donors and governments for this priority issue of basin adaptation. The Paris Pact community is now managed jointly by INBO and UNECE.
INBO also manages the Secretariat of the Global Alliances for Water and Climate, launched at COP22 under the framework of the Global Climate Action Agenda, and gathering the Alliance of Basins (Paris Pact), the Business Alliance for Water And Climate change (BAFWAC), the Alliance of Megacities for Water and Climate Change and the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance.
In these capacities, INBO has supported and will keep supporting the implementation of AfriAlliance.
Get to know... UNESCO-IHE
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, based in Delft, the Netherlands, carries out education, research and capacity building projects in the fields of water engineering, water management, environment, sanitation and governance. It is the largest international postgraduate water education and research facility in the world. The institute has over 110 academic staff, 140 PhD fellows and 25 post-docs. Together with its institutional partners, UNESCO-IHE has long standing experience in important programmatic cooperation and activities.
UNESCO-IHE UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, based in Delft, the Netherlands, carries out education, research and capacity building projects in the fields of water engineering, water management, environment, sanitation and governance. It is the largest international postgraduate water education and research facility in the world. is the overall project coordinator of AfriAlliance and contributes to all AfriAlliance activities, but especially to those related to knowledge sharing and technology transfer. The project director, Dr. Uta Wehn, is Associate Professor of Water Innovation Studies at the Institute.