CSIR-STEPRI participated in the Water Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) International Workshop on RDI co-operation development for tackling global water challenges on the 31st March 2017 at the Royal Tulip City Center, Tangier, Morocco. Other Sub-Saharan African countries apart from Ghana including Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, and Senegal were also represented.
The workshop was organized by the Water JPI to discuss the way forward for the platform they coordinate, in its quest to expand frontiers. The Water JPI was developed in 2008 to tackle what was being perceived to be menace (Grand Challenges) in Europe. It is a platform of 20 partners plus the European Commission and 4 Observers. It is the objective of JPI to mobilize existing national and regional RDI programmes and aims to harmonize their research agendas and infrastructures. Water JPI intends to produce science based knowledge leading to the support of European policies, comprising the identification of problems, their quantification, and the development of feasible technical and managerial solutions.
The current areas of work of JPI include:
- Alzheimer and other Neurodegenerative Diseases
- Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change
- A healthy diet doe healthy life
- Cultural heritage and global change: A new challenge for Europe
- Urban Europe – Global Urban Challenges: Joint European solution
- Connecting climate knowledge for Europe
- More Years Better Lives: The potentials and challenges of demographic change
- Antimicrobial resistance
- Water challenges for a changing world, and
- Healthy and productive seas and oceans
The event was meant to contribute to the broader consultative measures put in place to widen the scope beyond its current membership to include Sub-Saharan Africa. The event was therefore to among other things gather the views of the many affected constituents to understand their peculiar needs and areas of challenges relative to its JPI focus areas.
Apart from each country representatives making short presentations of their countries priority areas consistent with the Water JPI focus, other presentations were made on existing co-operations that had links with the Water JPI. The latter presentations covered platforms such as the ARIMNet2; ERANETMED; PRIMA; LEAP-AGRI; and AfriAlliance.
Participating countries highlighted their major concerns relative to water, in order that JPI could formulate its next Call to solving mutual concerns. In the case of Ghana, the issue of the effects of small-scale mining (galamsey) was topical and was presented appropriately. The point was made that ‘galamsey’ posed danger to the lives of people as well as to agriculture, which deposits heavy metals (cyanide and mercury) in the soil and results in the pollution of water-bodies and soil.
Another area that was considered was the provision of irrigation facilities to mitigate the impact of drought and climate change on agriculture. The unreliable nature of rains and the government of Ghana’s quest to make the Northern sector the food basket of Ghana through the establishment of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, a conscious consideration of elaborate irrigation system will not be out of place, to help engage farmers throughout the year and raise their standard of living and improve the economy of Ghana.
These suggestions were also made by participants
- A platform be formed to continue with discussions on the way forward of Water JPI
- Formula for contributions and disbursements to be agreed on upon more extensive engagements
- The need to consolidate the different funding frameworks of similar interest
- The inclusion of African countries onto the Water JPI demands that the objectives reflect the interest of African countries in the overall objectives of the platform.
Water JPI took note of the points submitted by Ghana, and promised to consider those points in the design of the next Calls to be floated, to reflect the aspirations of other important stakeholders in the quest to resolve problems confronting the water sector.