Friday, October 19, 2007

Executive Board adopts three flagship projects for Africa

On 10 October, UNESCO’s Executive Board adopted the Plan of Action for Africa proposed by the Director General of UNESCO with emphasis on three flagship projects. These are:
  • the initiative for capacity-building in science policy;
  • science, technology and engineering education; and
  • the establishment of an African Virtual Campus.
In light of the Board’s decision, UNESCO will launch an African Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Initiative (ASTIPI) to develop national science, technology and innovation (STI) policies for the numerous African countries still lacking one. UNESCO will work with these countries to reform their science systems, in cooperation with the other UN agencies belonging to the S&T Cluster working with the African Union’s (AU) New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). UNESCO will mobilize the necessary expertise, in consultation with the AU and NEPAD, to train 100 specialists in policy analysis between 2008 and 2010. In parallel, an ASTIPI postgraduate course will be designed and implemented, short-term executive workshops will be run for senior government officials and an African e-library of science, technology and innovation policy will be set up. With regard to the other two flagship projects, the Executive Board requested the Director-General to ensure that that on science, technology and engineering education contributed to the revitalization of higher education and included the development of policies conducive to the retention of qualified personnel. As for the African Virtual Campus, it will be based on the model of the Avicenna Virtual Campus put in place in 15 Mediterranean countries by UNESCO between 2002 and 2006 with European Commission funding.

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