UNU Side Events at TICAD V: Enhancing African Development Dialogue

  • 2013•07•10     Yokohama

    The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is convened every five years as a platform to facilitate high-level policy dialogue between Asian and African nations. TICAD V, held in Yokohama in June 2013, concentrated on three issues: boosting economic growth, ensuring “human security”, and addressing environmental issues and climate change.

    UNU has a long association of contributing to the TICAD process through research and capacity development activities. At TICAD V, UNU organized several side events, including the following.

    Building Inclusive and Resilient Societies in Africa through ESD

    At this side event, organized by UNU-IAS on 1 June, experts from Africa and the Government of Japan highlighted efforts to build inclusive and resilient societies in Africa through strategic partnerships for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

    As a member of the ESD programme, UNU-IAS is working to transform how the world views education and sustainable development, to ensure that sustainable development is incorporated into curricula at all levels of education and all levels of society.

    Event speakers argued that ESD offers a promising solution to Africa’s many challenges, as it has the potential to facilitate sustainable development actions while harmonizing the development of education so that it is properly founded on principles that will help whole sectors of society to reshape their thinking and actions.

    In opening the event, UNU Vice-Rector Govindan Parayil stressed the need for ensuring that education systems and overall infrastructure in Africa have the capacities needed to build inclusive and resilient societies while boosting economic growth, ensuring human security and addressing environmental issues.

    Other speakers stressed the need to create synergies between ongoing ESD work and the work being done in other sectors. Among the initiatives highlighted as playing crucial roles in bringing different stakeholders together was the UNU’s Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) initiative that provides an innovative platform for multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary information-sharing, dialogue and collaboration at local and global levels.

    For more information on this TICAD side event, see “Building Inclusive and Resilient Societies in Africa through ESD” on the UNU-IAS website.

    Traditional Agricultural Systems and Food Security

    This side event, organized by UNU-ISP on 2 June, featured speakers from UNU, the World Agriculture Heritage Foundation, the Embassy of Italy in Japan and the Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa. The speakers shared their views on the role of traditional agricultural systems in contributing to sustainable development of agriculture and food security, especially in Africa.

    UNU Senior-Vice-Rector Kazuhiko Takeuchi pointed out that conventional agricultural systems often emphasize the simplification of genetic resources and intensive use of inputs. While this is economical in the short term, this can make the systems extremely vulnerable to changes in the long term.

    Prof. Takeuchi stressed the need for agro-diversity to address risks and vulnerabilities and to enhance the resiliency of traditional agriculture systems in rural African communities. This can be achieved through combining indigenous knowledge with modern technologies. Doing so will contribute to food security and sustainable growth.

    For more information, see “TICAD Official Side Event: Traditional Agricultural Systems and Food Security” on the UNU-ISP website.

    The Role of Universities in Africa’s Sustainable Development

    UNU-ISP co-organized this side event on 2 June with the University of Tokyo and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Speakers included Prof. Stephan Simukanga, Vice Chancellor of the University of Zambia and the Chair of Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA), UNU Senior-Vice-Rector Kazuhiko Takeuchi, and AfDB president Donald Kaberuka.

    Prof. Takeuchi opened the event by offering his thoughts on the post-2015 development agenda, suggesting that many of the challenges of sustainable and human capital development will need to be met by institutions of higher education.

    In his keynote address, Prof. Simukanga emphasized the importance of education for sustainable development as a tool for buttressing economic growth, ensuring good governance and safeguarding the environment. He stressed that the ESDA project has the capacity to help a new generation of researchers to face the challenges of Africa’s sustainable development. He argued that coordination across universities is of paramount importance, because no one institution has the answer to the sustainability puzzle, and that ESDA is both a vehicle and a replicable model for such coordination.

    For more information this event, see “TICAD V Higher Education Seminar:The Role of Universities in Africa’s Sustainable Development” on the UNU-ISP website.