The European Union Delegation to Egypt

Science and innovation as drivers for successful reforms and modernisation

Cairo, 21/03/2018 - 08:47, UNIQUE ID: 180321_3
Op-Eds

Environmental and social changes are deeply affecting Euro-Mediterranean agro-food systems and water resources. Climate change, unsustainable agricultural practices, over-exploitation of natural resources, new lifestyle behaviours and low profitability of small farms put a strain on the sustainable and healthy development of the EUROMED region, with major impacts on our societies. The increased complexity of such social, economic and environmental challenges can only be tackled through common efforts and resources with a research and innovation approach.

PRIMA, or the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area, supports scientific research and innovation in the areas of sustainable management of water and food systems in the Mediterranean countries by pooling know-how and financial resources in a strategic research partnership between the Europan Union (EU) and participating states, including Egypt. PRIMA is a milestone and a flagship in science cooperation and science diplomacy in the region because PRIMA is the biggest joint research and innovation programme in the history of the EUROMED region.

PRIMA is very timely where it became urgent that Europe and its neighbours in the Southern Mediterranean countries pool together their resources of talent, knowledge and cultural heritage to address water scarcity and food challenges while providing job opportunities and competitiveness, for young entrepreneurs and women, whereas preserving the eco-systems.

To date, 20 countries are committed to the initiative with Egypt's active participation and involvement following the recent ratification of the PRIMA agreement by the Egyptian parliament. This is an important milestone in the cooperation between the EU and Egypt in the areas of research and innovation. But it is also a significant step for Egypt towards achieving successful reforms and modernisation of economy. Let's be clear that innovation, unhindered research and the involvement of private sector are key to fulfilling the development goals not only of Egypt, but of Europe and elsewhere.

The partnership is financed through a combination of funding from PRIMA participating countries, including Egypt (currently €274 million), and a €220 million contribution from the EU through Horizon 2020, its flagship research and innovation funding programme.

Research, science and innovation are not a luxury, but a necessity to overcome serious challenges that we face. With Egypt's ratification of PRIMA agreement, I am confident that the cooperation between the European Union and Egypt will be further strengthened with the aim of building a better future for our people.

Ambassador Ivan Surkoš, Head of European Union Delegation to Egypt

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