Reported by: Nche Tala Aghanwi
Mindful of the importance of science and evidence based policies for Africa’s development, mindful of the enormous challenges that the continent of Africa faces, which among others include the inappropriate health care, continuous environmental degradation (marine and terrestrial), loss of biodiversity, climatic changes, lack of access to portable drinking water, poor waste management, varied agricultural challenges, pests and plagues, extreme poverty, conflicts and extreme limitations in scientific development and limited scientific cooperation, the necessity for a continental organization that unites scientist, policy makers and diplomats to actively participate in developing Africa around scientific evidence and influencing policy at all levels on the grounds of scientific evidence can’t be over emphasized.
Cognizant of all these, the Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network (ASDPN) was officially launched on June 26 2018 in Yaoundé Cameroon, during the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) Media Training on the use of Climate Information Services in Development Planning.
Speaking during the event to mark the official launch, the ASDPN Founder and Executive Director schooled delegates on the concept of Science Diplomacy, he also presented the context within which the Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network was conceived. Pointing to the fact that Africa produces only 1.1% of global scientific knowledge, yet there continue to be much talk about Sustainable Development while science which should be the crux of development actions in the continent is constantly being relegated to the doldrums. The three main pillars on which ASDPN is based (science in diplomacy, Diplomacy for Science and Science for Diplomacy) was equally expatiated upon during the event to mark the official launch of the Network. The vision and programmes of ASDPN was also presented to the delegates present.
At the end of the event to mark the launch of the organization, 24 of the delegates present publicly pledged to become active members of the network. In amazement Mr. Kadiri Alphonse a final year student at ESSTIC Yaoundé described ASDPN as “a great tool for Africa’s development”.