Caribbean countries are not major contributors of greenhouse gases but are on the forefront of the impacts of Climate Change. This is expected to be exacerbated by sea level rise and increases in hydro-meteorological events such as storm surges and hurricanes. This impacts the well-being of populations of the Caribbean, as the majority of people, approximately 70 percent, live in coastal cities and informal settlements, and most major infrastructure is also located along the coastal zone. Although some capital cities have well-planned areas with sturdy structures, the sprawled communities on the outskirts of the city and those in proximity to the coastline often have non-resilient buildings, informal and haphazard development and are located in highly vulnerable areas putting them at high risk.
Sound urban planning and management is hampered by an uncoordinated approach to strategic decision-making, limited stakeholder engagement, ineffective resource allocation and policies that are ill-equipped to support innovation. There is a need to strengthen planning and management and more aggressively encourage successful uptake of innovations on technology(ies) to reduce vulnerabilities and enhance resilience in coastal communities. Developing the capacity, therefore, to identify vulnerabilities, anticipate climate change influences, plan and implement innovative mitigation and adaptation measures is required.
The University of the West Indies, and co-applicants, Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management and Anton de Kom University of Suriname are executing the project entitled ’Harnessing Innovative Technologies to Support Resilient Settlements on the Coastal Zones of the Caribbean’, also known as ‘HIT RESET Caribbean’ to address these challenges to improve well-being and livelihoods of residents by means of Climate Smart and Resilient coastal settlements. This project, which runs from January 2021 to December 2024, is funded by the ACP Innovation Fund, OACPS Research and Innovation Programme – a programme implemented by the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, with the financial contribution of the European Union.
The key outcomes of HIT RESET Caribbean identified are:
- Digital and modelling technologies utilised by coastal development agencies and high-level decision makers in CARIFORUM countries for the prediction of the impacts of Climate Change and natural disasters, and the planning and management of coastal communities, and
- Government entities, coastal development agencies and coastal communities in CARIFORUM countries developing urban planning policies and/or plans that are conducive to the use of digital and modelling innovations for sustainable coastal development.
The ACP-EU Programme
Strengthening Research and Innovation Capacity in ACP Countries
The creation, development and diffusion of knowledge, technologies and innovations are powerful drivers of inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development. Knowledge and skill diffusion are considered key to the reduction of inequality both within and between countries. As such, investments in Research and Innovation (R&I) capability are instrumental to the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
An increasing number of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are incorporating science, innovation and technology in national development agendas. The European Union (EU) and partner countries agree upon the strategic importance of investing in science, technology and skills development. The European Consensus on Development commits the EU and its Member States to continue investing in research and development, including enhancing national innovation systems, and through upgraded research and innovation capacity. A particular emphasis is on skills development, entrepreneurship and access to digital technologies for youth and women, with the aim to promote girls and women’s rights and empowerment, and to offer young people opportunities to benefit from technological progress.
Yet, despite the increasing stock of global know-how and technical knowledge, relatively few countries have been able to leverage this stock of knowledge to achieve sustained catch-up with the more advanced economies. Strong innovation performance remains limited to those countries able to coordinate policies for education, skills development, research and innovation; at the same time, effective interactions amongst all the actors of the innovation system are key success factors to promote learning and knowledge accumulation. Moreover, well-functioning labour market information systems need an effective network of actors capable of timely observing, analysing and translating skill needs into training and education initiatives. In fact, investments in R&I capability are likely to pay a high dividend if embedded in an effective innovation eco-system, including opportunities for collaboration between R&I institutions, industry and academia, combined with efforts to constitute a critical mass of skilled people.
The ACP-EU Programme to strengthen Research and Innovation capacity in ACP countries (hereafter, the Programme) builds upon the results of and expands the support provided by previous ACP-EU initiatives on research, science, technology and innovation. Research and innovation have long been recognised by the EU and the ACP countries as important aspects of their cooperation; in fact, they have been the focus of three consecutive programmes aimed at strengthening research and innovation eco-systems (that is, ACP Science and Technology programme I and II) and in support of applied research (that is, ACP Research for Sustainable Development programme). These initiatives highlighted the value-added of the intra-ACP dimension in disseminating, exchanging and facilitating the uptake of knowledge.
The Programme proposes a strategic approach to building R&I capability in ACP countries by helping structure their innovation eco-systems and inducing change at interlocking levels: policy development, knowledge transfer, and capacity of research and innovation stakeholders. This is meant to be achieved inter alia through the implementation of the competitive ACP Innovation Fund.
The global objective of this call for proposals is to unlock the inclusive innovation potential of ACP countries and support their transition into knowledge-based economies for sustainable development and poverty reduction.
The specific objective of this call for proposals is to contribute to a conducive and inclusive environment for Research and Innovation in ACP countries.
Proposals must address one or more of the four priorities listed below. The priorities of this call for proposals are:
- To increase access to digital literacy, knowledge and use of emerging technologies;
- To create or strengthen effective links between R&I skills development and labour market demand;
- To establish or enable synergies in the research and innovation ecosystem, including with the private sector; facilitate conditions for technology transfer; promote R&I uptake;
- To promote local and indigenous knowledge and its use in combination with formal knowledge systems and practices.
Actions can contribute to enhancing the capacity of Research and Innovation stakeholders in ACP countries in any socio-economic sector.
This programme is funded by the ACP Innovation Fund, OACPS Research and Innovation Programme. A programme implemented by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, with the financial contribution of the European Union.