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African Stakeholder engagement plan

African Stakeholder engagement plan

African Stakeholder engagement in AANChOR activities

By Karen Nortje & NIkki Funke (CSIR, South Africa)

The European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme has funded AANChOR with the specific goal to implement the Belém Statement (1) on Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Cooperation its related All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance and the construction of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Community.  At the heart of the AANChOR project lies the aspiration to enhance, improve, and stimulate research and innovation cooperation between South and North Atlantic regions building upon other initiatives such as the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance Support Action (2) (AORA-CSA) and the South-South Framework for Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the South and Tropical Atlantic and the Southern Oceans (3).

Key to successfully stimulating and enhancing research and innovation cooperation between the South and North Atlantic regions is to ensure that there is a fair representation in the participation of stakeholders in this venture, in particular stakeholders from the African continent. To achieve this goal AANChOR has directed the development and implementation of a South African/African Stakeholder Engagement and Communication Plan.  This plan aims to boost the participation of stakeholders from South Africa and other African countries in the AANChOR Joint Pilot Actions (JPAs) and All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance events. The development and implementation of the plan is being led by the the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research with support from the other South African AANChOR partners: the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the South African Earth Observation Network (SAEON). The implementation of the South African/African Stakeholder Engagement and Communication Plan will be carried out with the inputs of the South African AANChOR partners, EurOcean, the project coordination and the leadership of each of the JPAs.

There are several targets that have been set within the different JPAs and there are a number of areas that require the active participation of South African and African stakeholders. The first step in the process of securing participation from African stakeholders has been to engage with the leadership of the different JPAs and then to establish which South Africans or Africans are participating in the implementation of the respective JPAs, and where the gaps lie. Using this information, the Engagement and Communication Plan has been developed by mapping out the results of this engagement and documenting the route to including more stakeholders.

Several mechanisms have been identified through the development of the Engagement and Communication Plan to ensure the participation of African stakeholders. These include the identification of communication channels as well as national and international events where stakeholders and All-Atlantic Ocean Youth Ambassadors could participate, and importantly a dedicated implementation budget. Some key examples of stakeholder activities are provided below:

In-kind support: CSIR has been giving in-kind support to various JPA leaders on ensuring maximum participation of stakeholders from South Africa and African countries in the events that have been planned to take place as part of the JPAs. An example is the AA-Data2030 African Infrastructures and Stakeholder Forum, which is scheduled to take place on 24 and 25 May 2022 and will take the form of a webinar and a workshop, both in virtual format. The webinar focuses on showcasing African marine data infrastructures and discussing their relevance and contribution to the All-Atlantic Research Community, and the workshop focuses on producing the Draft Zero version of a Roadmap to develop the All-Atlantic Ocean Data Space. The forum event is being organised by the CSIR as an African AANChOR consortium member, and sees strong participation and representation of stakeholders from Africa including, amongst others, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (Africa), the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use, the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, the South African Earth Observation Network, the Sea Institute and the Atlantic Technical University – Cabo Verde (Cabo Verde), the University of Namibe (Angola) and the Nigerian Institute For Oceanography And Marine Research (NIOMR).

Communication: SAEON plans to organise the “Sharing stories of the Atlantic Ocean” competition which will be aimed at early career researchers to communicate their research to a non-technical audience without any scientific jargon. This competition will aim to increase knowledge and awareness about research projects that are conducted in the Atlantic Ocean and will be a call to action for people to protect and conserve the Atlantic Ocean. Early career researchers will be invited to submit a video clip, an audio recording, or a communication piece in their respective languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish), aimed at the general public. An expert panel of judges competent in science communication and fluent in either English, Spanish or Portuguese will be identified from the All-Atlantic network and will be appointed to award prizes to the best submission per category. The competition is planned to take place between May and August 2022.

Travel: CSIR and DSI aim to support the participation of key South African stakeholders at a planned side event at the All-Atlantic Research Forum strategic meeting in Washington D.C., United States on 12 July 2022. This event will serve as a kick-off meeting to initiate a research collaboration agenda between Arctic and Antarctic researchers as part of the AA-MARINET JPA that is being implemented under the AANChOR project.

Events: DSI plans to organize an AANChOR side event to be held during the South African Marine Science Symposium which will take place in Durban from 20 to 24 June 2022. The symposium aims to explore the links, continuity, and changes in marine science of the past and present, with emphasis on how the science being done today will determine the “future pasts” of our marine ecosystems and the people who depend on them. The AANChOR side event intends to bring together partners from the AANChOR project and sister projects as well as JPA participants to profile collaborative Atlantic Ocean research activities

  1. EU-Brazil-South Africa Belém Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation, July 2017.
  2. The AORA-CSA is tasked with the implementation of activities of the EU, Canada and USA Galway Statement and its Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance signed in May 2013. Essentially, the AORA-CSA provides scientific, technical and logistical support to the European Commission in developing and implementing trans-Atlantic marine research cooperation between the European Union, the United States of America and Canada.
  3. The South-South Framework for Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the South and Tropical Atlantic and the Southern Oceans constitutes a bilaterally agreed plan for scientific cooperation in marine and oceanic research between South Africa and Brazil to improve the knowledge of marine ecosystems and climate.