Africa – EU links on Water and Climate
10 Feb. 2016
The ambitious AfriAlliance project aims to 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. UNESCO-IHE will coordinate the project, which will run from 2016 to 2021, and which is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme.
Rather than creating new networks, the 16 EU and African partners in this project will consolidate existing ones, consisting of scientists, decision makers, practitioners, citizens and other key stakeholders, into an effective, problem-focused knowledge sharing mechanism. This will be coordinated by means of an innovation platform: the Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate. AfriAlliance will support the existing networks in identifying appropriate social innovation and technological solutions for key water and climate change challenges.
Africa-EU cooperation will be taken to a practical level by sharing (non-)technological solutions for local challenges, thus also identifying and boosting sustainable market and investment opportunities. Demand-driven, problem-focused action groups will share knowledge between the identified stakeholders and networks at all levels to identify and address vulnerabilities effectively.
The consortium will make extensive use of existing/emerging communication channels and events (EU/African platforms, conferences and social media) to streamline climate change issues into water-related networks, thereby raising awareness about their impacts and propose adaptation measures.
Water and climate change research and social innovation (R&I) cooperation between Africa and Europe will be reinforced and valorised through a combination of forward-looking and bottom-up innovation and road mapping techniques. The consortium will also identify demands, opportunities, and constraints at different levels and develop strategic advice (short term demand-driven R&I outlook and long term R&I agenda) for improving Africa-EU collaboration. This will help policy makers to create a consistent approach to bilateral cooperation between Africa and the EU in the field of innovation for water and climate.
Dr. Uta Wehn from UNESCO-IHE and Project Director of AfriAlliance: “I am very happy that this proposal was awarded. Africa is one of the regions most in need of innovative solutions for tackling water and climate change-related challenges; yet many parts of Africa are also suffering from the lack of water-related skills and capacity as well as wide-spread institutional fragmentation. AfriAlliance will capitalise on the knowledge and innovation base and potential in Africa and in the EU. It will support effective means of knowledge sharing and technology transfer within Africa and between Africa and the EU. All with the aim of increasing African preparedness to address the vulnerability of water and climate change-related challenges.”
UNESCO-IHE will build on its long-standing experience in important programmatic cooperations and activities conducted jointly with its institutional partners in the South. Dr. Wehn further explains: “There are important synergies between AfriAlliance and UNESCO-IHE’s efforts to prepare a global water research agenda. We will bring our expertise in knowledge sharing, capacity development as well as the dynamics of water innovation to bear in AfriAlliance from our Institute.”