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A brand new analysis and innovation agenda is required for the Mediterranean

There isn’t a doubt that innovation is a necessity in up to date economies. Funding in analysis and improvement (R&D) is crucial for companies and international locations and contributes to a robust financial system via job creation, earnings era and long-term financial development. Within the final years, to deal with world development in innovation and expertise, most of the MENA international locations have developed particular person initiatives, methods or insurance policies to advertise innovation and the information financial system. However because of this, the present state of scientific cooperation within the Euro-Mediterranean area is characterised extra by North-South interactions than by South-South collaboration. 

Warmth waves impacted a lot of North Africa and Europe earlier than summer time even began. Meteorologists have heralded this unusually early warmth wave as an indication of what’s to return as world warming continues, with all that it implies: rising sea ranges, disappearing biodiversity, the warmth we’re sweating via on each shores of the Mediterranean… 

As one of many world’s predominant hotspots, the Euro-Mediterranean area faces frequent challenges that don’t cease at borders from local weather change and droughts to a pandemic. Greater than ever, we must innovate. Collectively. If we wish to obtain each a inexperienced revolution and financial development, we have to put scientific analysis cooperation on the centre of our improvement methods. This requires coordinated efforts to advertise useful resource and information sharing, create new joint initiatives, and enhance communication amongst our present methods. 

However analysis doesn’t, or shouldn’t, occur in a vacuum. Subsequently, analysis and innovation nonetheless should be linked to native industries and economies. Extra dialogue must occur between academia, trade, and governments if we wish analysis to be seen as a chance to handle the disparities in our societies. That’s why it’s essential we don’t solely try to make the world of analysis extra accessible however to make sure that its impression is felt throughout Mediterranean economies, making a case for a sustainable and equal future, based mostly on abilities and arduous information.

That is the place the training, analysis and innovation triangle continues to display how fixed interplay between these three endeavours makes viable innovation potential. Entry to greater training and analysis alternatives not solely brings a rustic vital financial return, but in addition helps people attain their full potential.

In response to UNICEF estimates, on the present tempo, 39 million extra youth will arrive within the labour market throughout the area by 2030. With the world’s second-youngest demographic, the Southern Mediterranean area faces challenges in offering high quality employment alternatives for this incoming labour power, particularly younger girls. Though in a number of international locations – Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia – girls now outnumber their male counterparts as tertiary training graduates, they continue to be disproportionately affected by unemployment. 

This wasted potential is what drives me and my colleagues to develop initiatives that sort out two issues without delay: creating profession alternatives and guaranteeing a sustainable Mediterranean Sea.

Simply consider the potential this strategy may have in an entrenched and sophisticated construction, our vitality grids. As the main target in analysis establishments throughout the area shifts from petrochemistry to greener options, I see this as an opportunity to vary how we work and are available collectively, united by the identical objective. There are numerous consultants working in silos throughout the Mediterranean who may revolutionise our vitality grids if solely that they had entry to one another’s information, information units and sources. And allow us to be taught from the covid-19 pandemic! The place the world learnt simply how necessary scientific cooperation was necessary in creating vaccines. Collaboration, in relation to creating storage options and infrastructure implementation, is essential. 

On the Union for the Mediterranean, now we have at all times labored at this crossroads of human and sustainable improvement. One of many predominant challenges we face immediately is to advertise scientific excellence within the Mediterranean space, in addition to to seek out new options to the challenges confronted by our communities in relation to water and meals administration and well being points as highlighted by the current pandemic. Challenges that require a brand new imaginative and prescient, past easy expertise switch and in direction of true co-creation, on a spirit of co-ownership.

On the inaugural Ministerial Convention on Analysis and Innovation, all of the Euro-Mediterranean international locations endorsed a Ministerial Declaration on innovation and analysis. This can be a step in the suitable path to satisfy the tempo of change and the size of the challenges we presently face and to foster collaboration between scientists and innovators on either side of the Mediterranean. They’re endorsing new analysis roadmaps on subjects that matter local weather change, renewable vitality, and well being. We’re beginning to search for collaboration alternatives and synergies in R&I, not simply to supply short-term options, however to wholly rework how we stay, work, and be taught.



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