In 2022, DeSIRA-LIFT initiated a consultation process between the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA) of the European Commission and its African partners to identify research and innovation (R&I) priorities for agroecological transitions of agri-food systems in Africa. The consultation was launched through a public online event during the AU-EU Science Week discussing a common R&I agenda for agroecological transitions of agri-food systems during the Africa-Europe Week in February 2022, in the context of the Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) for sub-Saharan Africa. The MIP outlines the EU’s medium and long-term cooperation objectives with partner countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. DeSIRA-LIFT organized a series of online exchanges in 2022 to discuss Research & Innovation (R&I) priorities under the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and Green Transition agenda to support agroecological transitions in Africa.
The consultation process also involved a series of online meetings to facilitate an exchange between the DG INTPA and its African partners. The meetings, also known as Deep Dive Dialogues, were organized by DeSIRA-LIFT in June and July 2022 to discuss priority themes such as agrobiodiversity, bio-solutions and digitalisation for smallholder farmers in Africa, with African and European experts. These themes are crucial for achieving sustainable agri-food systems and for addressing the multi-dimensional challenges related to environment, climate, and society. To summarise the Deep Dive Dialogues, three Knowledge Briefs were produced and are available for download. The briefs are expected to feed into the formulation of R&I projects funded by the European Commission.
Joint R&I programmes, capacity building and knowledge-sharing initiatives are crucial elements in the strategic partnership between the EU and African partners to achieve shared R&I priorities. DeSIRA-LIFT aims to champion and support this partnership through the provision of services and knowledge to targeted actors of agricultural innovation systems. Among these are the research and innovation projects of the DeSIRA Initiative – including African organizations for research on agricultural development – and policymakers in European and African countries. DeSIRA-LIFT strives to build national and regional research capacities and governance involving these key actors, linking research and innovation with a multi-stakeholder approach for an effective transition towards greener and fairer agri-food systems.
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