On the 15th and 16th December 2020, S4D4C and the Union for the Mediterranean organised a joint workshop to explore the role of science diplomacy in the Mediterranean. The workshop was attended by more than 30 participants from different countries in the region and beyond and was inaugurated by UfM UfM Senior Advisor for Higher Education and Research, Itaf Ben Abdallah and by the S4D4C Coordinator, Elke Dall.
The event marks the 25th anniversary since the Barcelona Declaration stated that “science and technology have a significant influence on socio-economic development” of the Euro-Mediterranean region.
The main objective of the workshop was to showcase and reinforce the state of science and innovation diplomacy in the Euro- Mediterranean region, and to discuss its role in achieving the commitment of UfM Ministers to “knowledge creation” as a means to “sustainable growth and decent job creation for the region, by capitalizing on achieved results and best practices including through removing barriers, promoting brain circulation, avoiding duplication, reducing fragmentation and promoting integration, while fostering gender equality and research ethics”.
On December 15th, a number of speakers representing the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Region (PRIMA), and the SESAME synchrotron in Jordan, held lively debates about the role of science and innovation diplomacy in the region. The debate built on the idea of science diplomacy becoming a tool for the countries in the region to strengthen their cooperation towards addressing the challenges of the region and how, for this to happen, better connection between diplomats, scientists and policy makers was essential.
The event is recorded and available on youtube here.
In the morning of December 16th, the S4D4C partners Ana Elorza, Lorenzo Melchor and Izaskun Lacunza shared the current trends in science diplomacy and their experience in contributing to fostering science diplomacy in Spain. Also, they explained objectives of S4D4C – “Using science for/in diplomacy for addressing global challenges”, the European consortium currently working on supporting science diplomacy as a means to foster EU´s policy goals. The speakers shared the main outputs of the project with the audience in the academic, training and networking areas and interacted with the audience, composed by researchers, diplomats and ministry staff of the Union for the Mediterranean Region.
In the afternoon, participants were split into two breakout sessions: one on research cooperation towards global challenges, and the other on reinforcing scientific and diplomatic communities. Each of the groups was working on a hands-on exercise in order to come up with ideas that eventually could produce a takeaway message with policy recommendations on how to foster a joint science diplomacy strategy in the Mediterranean region for addressing global and regional challenges.
The agenda can be consulted here:
UfM S4D4C Science Diplomacy in the Mediterranean_Concept Note_v07122020