French Senator: Research for development needs better coordination

  

France’s research potential in developing countries needs to be streamlined, French Senator Kalliopi Ango Ella tells EurActiv. 

Kalliopi Ango Ella, a politician from Europe Écologie – Les Verts, is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French Senate.

She spoke to EurActiv Senior Editor Georgi Gotev at a development policy workshop on 11 June in Paris organised by EurActiv France.

You are the promoter of an initiative to streamline the output of the various French institutes doing research in the field of development policy and action. Would you name some of those institutes?

There are various such institutes. One is the Research Institute for Development (IRD), CIRAD, the Agricultural Research for Development, ANRS, the National Agency for research on AIDS. There is also IFRE, the Network of French Institutes for Research Abroad, from where researchers from CNRS, the National Centre for Scientific Research or other institutes can be dispatched abroad for various periods of time.

There is also the whole network of the Institut Pasteur which works in partnership with the countries in the South where they are implanted. Apart from that NGOs such as Sidaction (Association of the fight against AIDS) are financing research outside France, always in partnership between teams from the North in countries from the South.

I think I mentioned the main institutes, but there are more. They are engaged in various fields, like agriculture, when CIRAD is particularly active, and several other in health projects. But usually the research is multidisciplinary. ANRS has, for instance, has put together teams comprising scientists in humanities, professors in medicine, and experts in biomedical sciences. These were people who were not used to work together, and this innovative approach has been very successful.

What happens when sufficient scientific expertise is gathered? When does it translate into policy?

This is precisely the purpose of the Senate initiative (Mission commune d'information sur l'action extérieure de la France en matière de recherche pour le développement). Mr. Henri de Raincourt is its president, and I’m the rapporteur. Our first task is to be well documented. There are two ministries falling under the topic, the Ministry of Development and the Ministry of Research. The next stage will be to formulate recommendations, but for the time being we are in the initial stage of our work.

But you probably have a vision about the possible result of the effort?

I think we should be able to achieve a better coordination of these institutions, which have enormous experience, which are well represented across the world, and the expertise of which in working in partnership for development is very precious. I would also hope that the relation North-South would be redefined in a logic of moving toward an equal-to-equal partnership, taking advantage of the complementarity between North and South.

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