Twenty years of institutional cooperation and partnership on topics related to food security have shaped the international agenda, including the European Union and the African Union. So what lessons can be drawn about the impact of this cooperation? Which improvements do the authors of the case note? What are the barriers to tackled for collaborative action to achieve one of the most ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, “Zero Hunger” by 2030? What role does- and could science diplomacy play in this endeavour?
The authors conclude that an increasing institutionalisation of strategic instruments and the interplay between scientific and diplomatic stakeholders has improved cooperation in EU-African food security diplomacy. This is reflected not only in financial commitments but also in strategic initiatives by the organisations, ranging from the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) in 2007 to the EU- Africa R&I Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) in 2016.
Even though a diverging understanding of science diplomacy among the key institutions in the European Union exists (for example, EEAS may see it as “a way to make diplomacy through “parallel means” while the European Commission sees it as “an instrument of soft power”, the authors conclude that there is a mutual awareness of the two core elements of science diplomacy with a greater salience of the diplomatic dimension in science policy than vice versa.
The involvement of several Directorate Generals (Research and Innovation (RTD), International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI)), two European External Action Service (EEAS) directorates and the EU Delegation to the African Union is a testimony to the great attention devoted to food security. Against this backdrop, the creation of “science diplomats” (S&T attachés) has the potential to bridge the different interests and interpretations of science diplomacy among institutions and geographical regions.
One of the authors of this research case study, Dr Pauline Ravinet, has been interviewed to provide you with some key highlights.
Assistant Professor of Political Science, CERAPS, University of Lille
Video 1: What specific roles and ways of working have you identified?
Video 2: What were your main findings?
You may get all the information about this S4D4C case study in the following references:
– Ravinet, P., R. Cos, M. Young (2020): The science and diplomacy of global challenges: Food security in EU-Africa relations. In: Young, M., T. Flink, E. Dall (eds.) (2020): Science Diplomacy in the Making: Case-based insights from the S4D4C project (Link).
– Poster Report: “The science and diplomacy of global challenges: Food security in EU-Africa relations” (Link).
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