Setting the scene for the establishment of an innovation alliance on water and climate between Africa and Europe
The ambitious five year project ‘AfriAlliance’, officially started with the kick-off meeting hosted by UNESCO-IHE on 2 and 3 March. All 16 consortium partners were present and set the scene for the project’s main objective: getting African and European stakeholders to work together on water innovation, research, policy and capacity development to increase the preparedness of Africa to address future climate change vulnerabilities.
Specifically with respect to water, Africa is going to be one of the regions most in need of innovative solutions for tackling water and climate change-related challenges. The fruitful interaction among relevant stakeholders in water management is of central importance when trying to generate, increase and exchange knowledge and innovation that address the demands of workable, effective solutions that have tangible impact.
A broad range of networks exists already, however, interactions on water and climate could be further enriched and strengthened within Africa and between Africa and Europe. AfriAlliance will therefore support existing networks in working together and share innovative solutions for key water and climate change challenges. The project, which is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, fits well with the Commission’s interest to strengthen ties with Africa.
The 2-day kick-off meeting hosted by UNESCO-IHE gave EU and African AfriAlliance partners the opportunity to meet face-to-face, exchange ideas and to plan the first year of the project in detail. The topics that were discussed ranged from the thematic focus of the AfriAlliance Action Groups, the processes for identifying social innovations needs and innovative solutions, an innovative triple sensor approach to monitoring and forecasting, as well as the first AfriAlliance conference that will be held in Africa in 2017.
Dr. Uta Wehn, AfriAlliance project coordinator and Associate Professor of Water Innovation Studies at UNESCO-IHE: “The project has made an excellent start with this lively and engaging meeting. All partners are clearly committed to making the project a success and to strengthening African preparedness for the impacts of climate change.”
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 689162.