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13 July 2017

EU , Brazil & South Africa enhance cooperation in Marine Research

Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa, European Commissioner Carlos Moedas and Gilberto Kassab, Minister of State for Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications of Brazil (L-R)

The European Union, Brazil and South Africa signed today the Belem Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation.

This Initiative will improve the scientific knowledge of marine ecosystems and the links between oceans and climate change, food and energy systems, as well as the dynamics of the Atlantic Ocean and its interconnected circulation systems from Antarctica to the Arctic.

This Statement is building on previous bilateral Declarations of Intent on Marine Research and Innovation Cooperation signed by the EU with Brazil and South Africa, and the development of the South-South Framework for Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the South and Tropical Atlantic and Southern Ocean. It will also help to closely link research activities in the South Atlantic and Southern Ocean with those in the North Atlantic, and explore synergies with other initiatives.

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4 October 2016

EU and South Africa join forces to better understand the oceans and climate

Pretoria, 4 October 2016

The European Union and South Africa are strengthening their scientific collaboration in order to better understand and protect marine ecosystems and the link between oceans and climate.

The European Commission and the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) signed on October,3 2016 in Cape Town a Declaration of Intent on Marine Research and Innovation Cooperation. The declaration aims to develop a common understanding and deepen scientific knowledge of marine ecosystems. It will also encourage and support research collaboration and development of relevant technologies, to facilitate human capital development and scientific exchange, and to explore regional opportunities for sustainable marine cooperation.

The Declaration was signed on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Science and Technology (S&T) Agreement, the first agreement that the EU and South Africa signed since the advent of democracy in the country in 1994. This anniversary was celebrated in the margins of the International Conferences on Research Infrastructures (ICRI 2016). The event was opened by Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of Science and Technology, Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, and Phil Mjwara, Director-General of the South African Department of Science and Technology.

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Policy Dialogue

The Trade, development and cooperation agreement (TDCA) constitutes the legal basis for the overall relations between South Africa and the EU. The TDCA covers political dialogue, the establishment of a free trade area over an asymmetrical twelve-year period, development co-operation, economic cooperation, and cooperation in a whole series of other areas. The agreement was signed in October 1999 and it entered into force in 2000.

The EU and South Africa have also established a Strategic Partnership, and adopted an Action Plan for its implementation in May 2007. The Action Plan has two strands: enhanced political dialogue and cooperation on regional, African and world issues, and stronger cooperation in a number of economic, social and other areas.

The Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement was concluded in 1996 and entered into force in November 1997. Scientific collaboration between South Africa and the EU is monitored and facilitated by the Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC), established under the Agreement. The last meeting took place in Cape Town on 6 November 2012.

Agreement  PDF icon 758 KB

Flagships of S&T Cooperation between South Africa and the EU are

  • The European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnerships (EDCTP) was founded in 2003 to focus work of the European Commission and several EU Member States, in collaboration with African countries, into developing and testing of new medicines against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The European Commission and South Africa have been very active in making EDCTP a success story. EDCTP currently supports 196 research projects; these include 57 clinical trials involving more than 100.000 patients. It has also helped train more than 300 African scientists.
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  • The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is coordinating efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems, or GEOSS. GEOSS will provide decision-support tools to a wide variety of users. International collaboration is essential for exploiting the growing potential of Earth observations to support decision making. South Africa is co-chairing GEO and also co-chairs together with the USA and the EC a working group on GEO post-2015.
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  • Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an iconic radio telescope array that will transform the way we see the universe, as well as being a driver of science, technology and innovation on an industrial scale. It is one of a few truly global facilities that will be built by a consortium of countries around the world. The EU and several Member States, in cooperation with South Africa, Australia and other non-European countries, have invested significant resources in the development of the Square Kilometre Array during the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes. South Africa will host the mid frequency part of the Array.
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ESASTAP Plus (2013-2016)
Strengthening Technology, Research and Innovation Cooperation between Europe and South Africa. ESASTAP Plus is a dedicated platform that will support the deepening of scientific and technological cooperation between South Africa and the European Union with a special focus on innovation. This will be achieved by supporting South Africa's participation in Horizon 2020, but also by promoting reciprocal European participation in South African programmes. Specific input will be provided to enrich the bilateral policy dialogue, notably to identify priority areas for mutually beneficial cooperation. A major focus will be to target coordination of Member States and Associated Countries' research policies and programmes vis-à-vis South Africa, encouraging the development of new joint initiatives implemented by several countries. Synergy between different EU cooperation initiatives will also be encouraged, e.g. between development cooperation and research programmes.

RINEA (2015-2018)
The project "Research and Innovation Network for Europe and Africa" (RINEA) proposes three specific objectives:

  • Strengthening the quality and quantity of partnerships between research and innovation stakeholders in EU Member states, in Associated Countries and in countries in Africa
  • Encouraging transnational coordination of programmes and policies for international cooperation in STI for greater coherence, joint ownership and resource efficiency
  • Supporting and enriching formal and informal processes of biā€regional STI policy dialogue between the EU and Africa

CAAST-Net Plus (2013-2016)
The Network for the Coordination and Advancement of sub-Saharan Africa-EU Science and Technology Cooperation (CAAST-Net) will continue as CAAST-NET Plus with a special focus on food security, climate change and health. The aim is to increase the quality and quantity of STI cooperation between Europe and Africa in areas of mutual interest and benefit. The network consists of 22 participants (11 European and 11 African participants).


Success stories: FP7 projects with participants from South Africa



Framework documents


European Commission
DG Research and Innovation
Nienke Buisman
Policy Officer STI relations with Africa
Unit RTD C.3 - European Neighbourhood, Africa and the Gulf
Telephone: (+32) 229 98917

Nienke Buisman