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ATPS holds its 2010 annual international conference and workshops

ATPS Successfully held its  2010 Annual Conference, which took place at the Conrad Cairo from 25 – 30 November 2010 in Cairo, Egypt. The conference theme was The State of Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa: Implications for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Group Photo of the participants attending the ATPS 2010 Annual ConferenceGroup Photo of the participants attending the ATPS 2010 Annual Conference (Click to enlarge)The conference converged about 175 delegates from around the globe who are part of the diverse ATPS membership and stakeholders of the ATPS, including Policy Makers, Science Experts, Private Sector Actors, and Civil Society members working on science, technology and innovation policy research and practices in Africa, to review progress and identify priorities for future capacity building activities. Tied to the conference was a Proposal Tournament to identify potential Grantees for the Climate Change Innovation Challenge Awards for grants to be implemented in 2011.

In his opening remarks, the ATPS Executive Director, Dr. Kevin Urama appreciated the diverse audience whom he noted were carefully selected due to their expertise, passion and interest in Africa’s development through science, technology and innovation (STI). He expressed optimism that the investment brought together at the conference would add value by way of better understanding of what needs to be done to advance Africa through STI as well as building capacity. Dr. Urama challenged the audience to be part of the solutions in charting the way forward for Africa, setting aside the lethargy of problems that are sometimes orchestrated to inform the dependency syndrome that has ailed Africa for a long time. He noted that ATPS and its partners had decided to adopt this direction by launching the African manifesto for Science, Technology and Innovation during the conference as a means of opening a dialogue of charting a new way of renaissance in Africa through STI.

The opening keynote address was delivered by Prof. Maged El-Sherbiny, the President of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) who is also the Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Scientific Research, policy making and Government, Cairo, Egypt. In his address, the minister appreciated the focus of the conference on seven key themes which are all inter-related and critical to Africa’s development. He acknowledged the integrated roles played by various stakeholders towards Science and Technology in Africa noting that this serves to assert the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He further appreciated the timeliness of the conference adding that African countries need to tap into the resources offered by existing networks to facilitate the implementation of Science, Technology and Innovation as this will ultimately contribute towards the attainment of the MDGs.

The 2010 annual conference and workshops was a unique one as an ATPS family retreat was also held during the conference. The retreat saw the main arms of the ATPS family engage in a series of facilitated participatory activities including the following:

  • A mid-term review of the implementation of the ATPS Phase VI Strategic Plan, 2007 - 2012;
  • Review of the governance reforms implemented so far in response to the SWOT analyses carried out in 2007 at the Secretariat and National Chapter levels, respectively;
  • Team building activities and any other matters that may be of interest in strengthening the ATPS as the centre of excellence and reference in STI policy research and policy advocacy in the continent.

The mid-term review workshop and the team building activities were facilitated by professional consultants to ensure full participatory dialogue and priority setting. A Corporate Governance and Network Management training for the ATPS Secretariat Management staff, National Chapter’s Regional Council Members, officials of AWFST and AYFST, and National Chapter Coordinators was also held during the Conference and Workshop. The ATPS Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the 18th meeting of the ATPS Board were also held during the conference and workshops to ensure cost-effectiveness.

Some of the other key highlights of the conference included the launch The African Manifesto for Science, Technology and Innovation (cf. A.3.2 (b)) which was developed by ATPS in liaison with partners from Europe, Africa and India under the auspices of the EU funded SETDEV project, and the new initiative on developing biennial reporting on the State of STI in Africa Report.

During the Conference, a regional meeting under the IP Programme was held as a parallel event on 26 and 27 November 2010 in Cairo, Egypt. The regional meeting drew together stakeholders currently engaged in the programme including National Chapter Coordinators (excluding Tanzania), Regional Steering committee members, National Steering committee members, Training of Trainers participants and the Principal Investigators undertaking studies under the regional IP studies. The meeting also featured presentations on the ARIPO protocol for protection of Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, seed systems and Access and Benefit Sharing. Key resource persons among them Dr. Niels Louwaars of Centre for Genetic Resources, Wageningen University and IP Regional Committee member and Dr. Joep van den Broek, Delegated Advisor Agriculture, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) in Ethiopia, shared their expertise with the participants through a series of presentations.

National chapter coordinators from seven of the eight countries involved in the IP program (Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) also discussed the development of a work plan for implementation of  activities scheduled for 2011.

Posted on Wednesday 6th April, 2011

 

 

 

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