UNESCO, as a convener of the UN S&T Cluster in support of the African Union Consolidated Plan of Action for Science and Technology (CPA) organized the Second Meeting of the Cluster in Paris on 9 June 2006. The AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science & Technology, Professor Nagia Essayed and Dr. John Mugabe, Science and Technology Advisor to NEPAD attended the meeting. The main UN agencies, member of the Cluster (UNESCO, UNECA, UNIDO, UNCTAD, UNEP WIPO, IAEA, and WBI) also attended the meeting as well as representatives from DIFD, IDRC, CERN and the Science and Development Network.
The meeting presented a unique opportunity to launch a platform/forum and a process to collectively harness African and international efforts in science and technology for Africa’s development through the AU/NEPAD process in S&T. The enthusiastic response of the UN agencies and other partners at such short notice demonstrated the level of willingness to support AU/NEPAD in the lead-up to the AU Summit and in the longer term.
The AU/NEPAD delegates presented the Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA) and the planned programmes and events leading to the AU Summit in January 2007. The UN agencies, presented their current activities in Africa which relate to the development of S&T and expressed their readiness to cooperate with the AU/NEPAD in the implementation of the CPA.
The AU/NEPAD and the UN agencies agreed on the following:
- The UN S&T Cluster is the best forum for the cooperation between NEPAD and the UN Agencies in the field of Science. In view of the small size and limited capacity of AU/NEPAD to engage with outside partners, the UN S&T Cluster is ideally placed to coordinate UN input and act as a hub in engaging and linking in with other S&T partners for Africa’s development. UNESCO was requested to continue its lead role and act as a focal point for the contacts with AU/NEPAD.
- There was enormous room for progress in the process of harmonizing international efforts in support of African efforts in S&T; the Cluster needs to coordinate more closely, working as a functioning team to strengthen its role as a significant partner in S&T to AU/NEPAD.
- Three programmes were identified for immediate AU/NEPAD-UN cooperation:
- The Development of an African System for S&T Indicators. Lead agency: UNESCO and other agencies such as UNIDO, WIPO to closely cooperate.
- Development of Science & Technology Parks: Lead Agency: UNIDO and other agencies such as UNECA, UNCTAD, UNESCO to closely cooperate.
- Energy, Water and Desertification: Lead agency: UNEP and other agencies such as UNESCO, WHO, UNIDO to cooperate
- The NEPAD Secretariat also requested the assistance of the Cluster in the development of some 10 studies within the framework of an initiative aiming at “procuring evidence-based science advice for the new partnership for African Development”. UNESCO is circulating the request among the members of the Cluster.