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ATPS Participates in a Consultative Conference on Southern Voices in the Northern Policy Debate

Dakar; May 22nd & 23rd 2011: ATPS Executive Director, Dr. Kevin Urama and Prof. Turner T. Isoun, ATPS Board member, represented ATPS at the Consultative Conference on Southern Voices in the Northern Policy Debate. This meeting was attended by members from key institutions from all over Africa such as African Centre for Economic transformation, African Institute for Development studies, Institute for Global dialogue and Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale just to mention a few.

Participants at a conference on Southern Voices in the Nothern Policy Debate

The purpose of the conference was to identify a set of issues or themes, which are of mutual concern to the North and South alike, but upon which the South has a distinct perspective, set of interests, cultural or historical context which differs greatly from the Northern powers. The objective of the conference was to reach an agreement on this set of interests for which the President of Woodrow Wilson International Centre can commission research efforts to bring this “Southern perspective or voice” to the attention of U.S. policymakers.

Dr. Urama presented a paper titled “Climate change and Adaptation”, which highlighted the impacts of climate change in Africa saying “ it will have wide-ranging effects on the environment, socio-economic

and related sectors, including water resources, agriculture and food security, human health, terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity and coastal zones. The impacts will further be compounded by the inadequate capacity to cope in terms of insufficient resources to adapt socially, technologically and financially”.

Giving the example of foreign direct investments (FDI) in increasing the technological capabilities of firms in developing countries, Dr. Urama described the key issues revolving around technology transfer and capacity building by comparing the concepts with respect to the North-South debate. He said that Science and technology policies broadly shape the trajectories followed by countries to develop their technological prowess and achieve their development objectives.

He however emphasized the direction of this debate-whether to develop indigenous capacity for R&D and technology development or attract these technologies from countries in the North-influences the kind of technology policies pursued by developing countries.

The two day conference organized by Woodrow Wilson International centre for Scholars featured academic paper presentations and discussions that targeted key areas where African voices need to be represented in US policy dialogues, such as; Climate Change; Technology Transfer; STI capacity building; Youth, Employment, Migration and Poverty Alleviation among many other interventions.

The consultation exercise was expected to lead to a commissioned research paper that would be presented to the relevant US government departments in future. ATPS’ leading roles in STI capacity building, knowledge brokerage, technology transfer and mainstreaming STI in climate change negotiations and dialogue was applauded by PWWC at the meeting.