At the Third African Union – European Union Agricultural Ministerial Conference three new contracts were signed to boost research and innovation under the Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture (DeSIRA) Initiative:
- A support programme for the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) ex-pillar IV African research organisations (FARA, AFAAS, ASARECA, CCARDESA and CORAF), to be signed with IFAD, aimed at transforming agriculture and food systems and influencing policy-making (€30 million EU contribution).
- Support for the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP), to be signed with the FAO, to implement the TAP Action Plan (€5 million EU contribution).
- The One Planet Summit Fellowship Programme, to be signed with Agropolis Foundation (other partners: the Bill and Melinda Gates and BNP Paribas foundations), for African and European scientists working on the challenges of adapting African agriculture to climate change (€3 million EU contribution).
DeSIRA in brief: In order to foster a strong climate change focus in agriculture and food systems research for development, the European Commission will provide EUR 270 million, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation USD 300 million pledge over the next 3 years (2018-2020). Focus in on climate-change related innovations through research in agriculture, especially within agronomy for primary production, technology for all steps of processing, general organisation along the value chains, and focus on major activities to increase job creation and food security and nutrition. They also aim at enhancing research architecture and developing the national and regional research capacities conducive to innovation. This effort will also increase knowledge and evidence needed for policies and investment decisions. The mechanisms for change will be through stronger coordination of strategies and through joint and coordinated actions. It will particularly be based on collaborative activities between Member States and all interested partners in order to pool financial resources and human expertise through innovative mechanisms leveraging an increased response.