Three-day validation workshop to strengthen science, technology and innovation launched
The Ministry of Higher Education, Technology, and Innovation this week officially launched the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA) three-day validation workshop, Strengthening Science, Technology and Innovation Systems for Sustainable Development in Africa (SSTISSDA) Project, at the Seaside Hotel and Spa, Swakopmund in Erongo region.
The Erongo Governor, Neville André provided welcoming remarks during the occasion of the validation workshop project funded by SIDA in partnership with UNESCO.
During the welcome address, he mentioned the importance of the project focusing on African needs and priorities in line with the African Union Agenda 2063, ‘Africa we want’.
He highlighted that the funding by SIDA would support UNESCO in strengthening science, technology, and innovation systems and governance in selected African countries, which includes Namibia.
“We are fortunate to be selected, and hope that it will surpass our expectations,” André said, adding that science, technology, and innovation are universally recognised as drivers for poverty eradication and essential components for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Ultimately, stronger science, technology, and innovation systems will enable African societies to attain greater inclusivity and resilience through enhanced capacity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union 2063 Development Agenda,” he said.
He added that science is essential to address not only the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but in addressing all societal challenges and global threats, including climate change, inequalities, and biodiversity loss.
The workshop’s main objective is to create awareness of UNESCO 2017 Recommendations and Science and Scientific Researchers (RSSR) and the SSTISSDA project.
In an address read on her behalf, Dr. Itah Kandjii-Murangi, Minister of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation, stressed that Namibia, as a UNESCO Member State, was part of the 195 states that adopted the revised RSSR at the 39th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in 2017.
In addition, she said this normative instrument obliges Namibia to create awareness of these recommendations in building scientific skills and institutions.
Kandjii-Murangi explained that the key focal areas of the ministry that the scientific community should internalize as presented by their technical people entail that public-funded research and other scientific outputs should be a public good.
“Thus, besides expanding the frontiers of knowledge, scientists and researchers should address social and development challenges of our societies and contribute to addressing global health and environmental challenges, impacts of climate change, global issues, food security, water, etc,” she said.
According to her, phase 1 of the project concluded at the end of 2022, and the validation workshop taking place over the next three days is planning to achieve objectives, having created awareness of the Recommendation, including the purpose and outputs of this project in Namibia.
As a result, several documents were drafted through this project, and this workshop provides an opportunity to analyze and improve these documents, she said.
These draft documents include an exploratory Report on the State of Scientific Freedom in Namibia; a National Action Plan for the Revised National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (2022 – 2030); an Advocacy Strategy for the Recommendation; a Draft National Programme on Research, Science, Technology and Innovation II, – National Research and Science Agenda; National Research and Development (R&D) Survey & Report and the Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) Framework covering Research, Science, Technology, and Innovation (RSTI) in Namibia
“Therefore, I am excited that the outcome of the R&D Survey and Report for Namibia for 2022 will be presented at this workshop. The results of this survey will have an impact on the 2nd National Programme on Research, Science, Technology, and Innovation; which spells out Namibia’s National Research Agenda for three years,” she said.