OPENING SPEECH ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE AFRICA SCIENCE DIPLOMACY AND POLICY NETWORK (ASDPN)
Date: 16th June 2018, By: Nche Tala Aghanwi, Founder and Executive Director
The Executive Officer ASSAf, the Coordinator the Science Diplomacy Programme at the World Academy of Science (TWAS), the CEO American Association of Science (AAAS), Members of the General Coordination Unit (GCU) of Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network, Africa Science Diplomacy Country Coordinators, Members of Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network, fellow Science Diplomats, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Thank you all for respecting this invitation in such short notice. And equally accept my apologies for the delay in commencement.
Our world is today beset by multiple challenges from different fronts ranging from climate change, hunger and food insecurity, poverty, catastrophic environmental changes wars, strives, disease epidemics among others. Faced with these realities and taking cognizance of the repercussions on future generations, the world must not and cannot afford to remain indifferent.
The United Nations and her sister organizations have since the dawn of the 20th Century risen up to this challenge and has also redoubled its resolve at the start of the 21st Century with the introduction of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 15 years later.
But I besiege you Science Diplomats of Africa to rise, to rise up to the challenge of ending global hunger, disease, epidemics, reversing poverty, mitigating climate change, and environmental degradation through science, policy and tactful diplomatic engagements at the grass root level and at international levels.
Your strong investments all over the continent of Africa in science and policy especially in the in suburban villages like Kyazanga in Uganda, Furu-Awa in Cameroon , Maramany in Zimbabwe, Mwandama in Malawi among others, is crucial in the global effort in achieving the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the African Union Agenda 2063.
Fellow members of Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network,
You are important, you can make a difference, you can sustainably transform Africa.
It is with this conviction and line of thinking that the brilliant idea of Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network was conceived and today it’s a reality. Engaging African scientist, diplomats and policy makers across the continent to work together on common projects and with a common vision of addressing Africa’s most pressing challenges.
The good news is the Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network has brought a novel approach in resolving the problems of Africa and Africans based on the necessity to link scientific research with policy making towards stronger evidenced based decision stream. This novel approach will be effective in reversing disease epidemics, access to quality water sources and halting environmental degradation.
However, a lot still needs to be done and we can do it, hunger, unemployment, poverty, illicit migration still persists and continue to be a cankerworm that is ravaging the African people.
We must therefore never lose sight of our national and international obligation as members of Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network in completely reversing these trends.
Fellow members of ASDPN,
As we prepare to officially launch this great tool for Africa’s development, I urge you once more to rise, to rise up in unison to challenge the present statuesque for a better future for you and me and for generations unborn.
The Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network’s vision is great but like the famous European author, thinker and political icon Václav Havel said “vision is not enough it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to steer up the steps, we must step up the steers.”
It is thus my fervent call today that let us as Africa Science Diplomacy and Policy Network members, step up the steers in Cameroon, in Zimbabwe, in Zambia, Kenya, let us step up the steers in Africa and let us step up the steers in the world.