Today, the world is facing a number of increasingly urgent, interrelated and complex challenges. These challenges, which concern health, poverty, global warming, disaster management, energy, security, etc., require coordinated responses that rely more than ever on diplomacy, science, technology and innovation.
The current coronavirus crisis, which has sent the world into an unprecedented crisis, is proof thatscience and diplomacy can unite countries to address global challenges beyond the reach of one nation.
Indeed, science provides a structured approach, a permanent search for knowledge to understand and explain our world in a universal language without borders. Diplomacy provides a framework and methods for dialogue and negotiation to better understand each other and establish common policies for the good of all and with respect for each other.
In this context, the President of Burkina Faso, His Excellency Mr. Rock Marc Christian KABORE, whohas made science and technology a priority for the development of Burkina Faso, wished that Dr.Lassina ZERBO, with his experience as a scientist and Executive Secretary emeritus of an internationalorganization that promotes science and diplomacy for security, peace and development, initiate a cycle of high-level international conferences on science diplomacy and technological innovation inBurkina Faso.
This event aims to be the reference meeting at the regional and international level that highlights the work of scientists and diplomats in the service of the well-being of populations and the search for peace in the world
Challenges related to food, water and energy resources are among the most widespread problems in Africa, particularly in the Sahel region. This region is subject to climatic changes, population pressure and water scarcity, which exacerbate inter-communal conflicts, resulting in increased poverty, weakened public services and disruption of traditional means of survival.
The inextricable links between water, food security and energy issues in the Sahel, are challenges and opportunities, especially in the field of scientific research and diplomacy.
There are indeed real possibilities for scientific collaboration and water diplomacy, or Hydro-diplomacy, to foster development and peace in the Sahel. In an area where several countries are landlocked, transnational cooperation is the mostrational way to develop adequate solutions to the increasingly acute and complex challenges facing the Sahel.
The interface between science and diplomacy, which goes well beyond building bilateral or multilateral scientific relationships and relates to broader foreign policy objectives, has not yet been fully explored in Africa. The continent needs effective application of science, and science for diplomacy, because of its vulnerability to climate change as well as to deadly conflicts and violent
For Sahelian countries, developing an endogenous science-led diplomacy, supported by strong and equitable international cooperation, will not only build their science, technology and innovation (STI) capacity through stronger regional partnerships, but also use it to identify, address, de-escalate, and ultimately solve the Sahel's cross-border problems.
Within this framework, the conference will combine the analyses of top scientists with those ofdiplomats who will lay out the fundamentals of the use and application of scientific cooperation tohelp build linkages and strengthen relations between countries, particularly in areas where there may be no other means of approach at the official level.
As part of the conference, the technology village will focus on the potential of innovative technological solutions to advance Africa's inclusive social and economic development, particularly in the areas of space applications, e-health, aggrotech, energy and e-education.
3.Objectives of the conference
The aim of the conference is to provide opportunities for scientists and diplomats to exchange information, explore areas of possible cooperation and develop proposals to solve existing problems.
In specific terms, this conference will:
• reflect on global, regional and national challenges, in particular contribute effectively to theobjectives of sustainable development and especially on the issues of water, energy and food;
• Promote productive international relations and cooperation;
• contribute to policy development based on scientific and technological facts and evidence;
• Contribute to create better conditions for scientific activities on the basis of ambitious foreignpolicy agendas;
• Improve the interface between science and public policy;
• Contribute to capacity building and create added value for citizens
4.Expected results and outputs
This conference aims to strengthen coordination and collaboration between scientists and diplomatsby encouraging regional and international partnerships to address development issues related towater, energy and food.
The expected outcomes of the conference are:
• the development of a set of priority actions for sub-regional leaders that will provide aframework for regional and international scientific and diplomatic cooperation to improve thedaily life of the populations of the Sahel;
• attract investors and develop new partnerships by bringing together donors and local promotersof innovative scientific and technological projects.
The main expected outputs are:
• the final proceedings of the conference with papers, summary of the round tables, conclusions;
• A special review of the most relevant scientific papers.