Nov. 10, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
African Science Academies Gather in Uganda to Discuss Country Ownership of Post-2015 Development Agenda; Meeting Marks Culmination of 10-Year Initiative
KAMPALA, Uganda – The 10th Annual Meeting of African Science Academies, hosted by the Uganda National Academy of Sciences, began today. The three-day conference’s agenda focuses on country ownership of Africa’s development in the post-2015 era.
The meeting also marks the culmination of the 10-year African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI), a partnership of the U.S. National Academies and several counterparts in Africa aimed at strengthening the capacity of the African academies to inform policymaking through evidence-based advice. The number of national science academies in Africa has more than doubled since the initiative began.
“It is an honor to host the annual meeting of African science academies and provide a forum for our colleagues and other distinguished experts to discuss how Africa can control its own destiny by taking greater ownership of our continent’s development agenda,” said Nelson Sewankambo, president of the Uganda National Academy of Sciences. “The meeting also gives us the opportunity to discuss how African science academies can carry forward the momentum gained during ASADI to further establish ourselves as trusted sources of independent advice on science, technology, and health policy matters.”
The conference began with the release of a new report from several African science academies titled “Mindset Shifts for Ownership of Our Continent’s Development Agenda,” which recommends several catalysts for giving all sectors of society a greater stake in and shared responsibility for development goals. It describes how five levers -- communities, institutions, education, health, and capital -- all have a role to play in stimulating broader societal ownership of development agendas such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the U.N.’s planned Sustainable Development Goals, which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals that expire in 2015.
The InterAcademy Council, a multinational organization of the world’s science academies, also released a report at the conference titled “Enhancing the Capacity of African Science Academies: The Final Evaluation of ASADI.” The panel that authored the report concluded that ASADI succeeded in meeting its objective to increase the African academies’ capacity to be effective sources of evidence-based advice, thus allowing them to occupy a unique civic space in their respective societies. The report also draws on lessons learned during ASADI to make recommendations about the future shape of science academies in Africa.
“We are pleased that our collaboration has resulted in African science academies being increasingly well-positioned to offer authoritative advice to their respective governments,” said Enriqueta Bond, chair of the ASADI board and president emeritus of the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund. “African science academies also are well-positioned now to engage at the international level to help address the many global challenges facing the world. We hope the impact of ASADI will last for many years to come.”
The national science academies of Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, and the regional African Academy of Sciences are partners with the U.S. National Academies under ASADI, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The U.S. National Academies are made up of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council.
The Network of African Science Academies also helped organize this year’s annual meeting. More information about the conference including an agenda and copy of the African academies’ report on country ownership can be found at www.ugandanationalacademy.org and www.nationalacademies.org/asadi. The InterAcademy Council report is available at www.interacademycouncil.net.
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The African Science Academy Development Initiative is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Photos provided by Peter Arnold Inc., U.S. Agency for International Development, World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases.