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ATPS holds its Annual Conference and Workshop Africa’s Response to Global Challenges through Science, Technology and Innovation

The African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS) Network held its 2009 Annual Conference and Workshop from 24 - 27 November in Abuja, Nigeria. The event was organized as part of an International Conference aimed at identifying and prioritizing strategies for African countries to respond to the triple global challenges of poverty, climate change and the global finan­cial crisis through Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).

In his opening remarks, Dr. Kevin Urama the Executive Director of ATPS highlighted the significance of science, technology and innovation in charting a sustainable development course for the developing and emerging countries and in tackling the triple chal­lenges of global climate change, global poverty and global finan­cial crisis. “The systemic feedback relationships between the three challenges, as well as the response strategies needed to address them has highlighted the need for a more systematic approach to development planning more than ever. It has become more evident that poverty, climate change, and global financial crisis are mutually exacerbating the poor conditions of living and socio­economic status of citizens both in the developed, emerging and developing countries,“ said Dr. Urama.

In a Keynote speech by Hon. Dr. AlhassanZaku, Minister for Science and Technology, Nigeria, which was read on his behalf by a Ministry Official, the Minister underscored the importance of building national systems of innovation to foster inno­vation capacities of nations in Africa. He said his Ministry had launched an initiative to create platform for collaboration within the quadruple helix (different arms of government, academia, private sector and the civil society) in partnership with the minis­try of education in Nigeria and ATPS.

The initiative which was launched during the conference has now formed a steering committee which will fast track the process of moving numerous results of research and development within Nigeria‘s system of innovation from the knowledge sectors where they are currently. During his speech, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) Prof. Julius Okojie commended the ATPS for its efforts to address the problems highlighted under the theme of the conference namely climate change, global poverty and the global financial crisis through Science, Technology and Innovation.

He said that strategies aimed at addressing these challenges are summarized in the seven-point agenda of the Federal Govern­ment, aimed at transforming the Nigerian economy including; critical infrastructure, food security, human capital and wealth creation among others

He further added that these three challenges are interlinked and require a holistic approach to tackle them. “The three operative factors are integrated with climate change leading to global warming and flooding of low-lying coastal areas due to rising sea levels and in turn posing a real threat to the viability of ecological systems and human societies at a local, national and regional levels. The conference sought to address these challenges in an integrated systems approach exploring the linkages and feedbacks between climate change effects on water and energy resources on global poverty through biodiversity loss and land degradation and vice versa.

The conference attracted 148 global participants including key African experts, researchers, policy makers and potential donors to brainstorm on the theme and to identify and prioritize STI relevant research, capacity building and policy needs of the continent in the coming decade.

The conference took the format of a Two-day plenary session where experts delivered key note addresses focusing on the thematic areas. There were also facilitated breakout sessions to map out Africa’s responses to (i) the global financial crisis; (ii) global poverty; and (iii) climate change after the plenary session have exhausted the potential linkages and feedbacks in the system and from the perspectives of the role of STI only. In addition, the conference also examined cross cutting issues that underpin Africa’s response to these challenges, including: (iv) intellectual property rights (IPRs) and knowledge appropriation strategies; (v) socialization of science and technological research and innovation policy in Africa.

Other key presenters included Prof. BanjiOyelaran-Oyeyinka UN-HABITAT, Prof. Peter Onwualu, RMRDC, Wiebe E. Bijker, Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands. Dr. Adrian Ely, University of Sussex, Dr. Alfonso Alfonsi, SET-DEV Project Coordinator, Dr. Shambu Prasad, Xavier Institute of Management, India, Dr. MusondaMumba United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Prof. OsitaOgbu, ADSI, Prof. Eric ChiedumEboh, AIAE among others.

Posted on Tuesday 24th November, 2009




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