The One Planet Summit organized on 15 December 2017 in Paris outlined concrete steps by private and public sector actors working together to meet the objectives set by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The 12 commitments that resulted out of this convening consist of 30 actions intended to intensify and accelerate global efforts to fight climate change. One of these actions, under Commitment 3 (Mobilizing researchers and young people to work for the climate), is the implementation of One Planet Fellowship Programme.
The One Planet Fellowship Programme aims to build a vibrant, connected and intergenerational network of African and European scientists equipped to lead research on agriculture - climate change in Africa.
It is designed to enhance the capacity of high potential researchers focused on agriculture and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Its three pillars include:
Three successive Calls for applications in Africa are launched in 2019-2020. For each Call, up to 45 candidates (25 women, 20 male) are selected to take part in a 3-year fellowship cycle.
Each candidate Fellow is matched to an African mentor. Those who will have the opportunity to do an AST in Europe will be matched with a European science supervisor as well. Each candidate Fellow will also be paired with and mentor a junior African scientist and a junior European scientist. This group of laureates, mentors and mentees constitute this network of African and European scientists working on African agriculture adaptation to climate change.
The first cohort, composed of 45 high-potential scientists, selected from a pool of more than 1,500 candidates, was launched in September 2019. The call for applications for the next cohort of the One Planet Fellowship which closed on March 31, 2020 attracted 903 applications from 14 African countries (Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia). Applications received from the six anglophone countries totaled 546, while those received from the eight francophone countries were 357.
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 disease, the pandemic-induced economic impacts of the COVID-19 disease are increasingly becoming imminent, with major sectors such as agriculture facing severe distractions. While a significantly huge focus has been diverted toward supporting the health sector and strengthening the health systems including health research and development, the agricultural value chains and food systems are calling for attention at these unprecedented times.
There is an urgent need to invest in building local research and development capacity, to enable countries address challenges of their food systems including the production, transportation, storage and nutrition aspects, all which ultimately have a bearing on the health systems. This calls for intensified efforts to support agricultural value chains which face more pressure from climate change-related shocks. That is why the One Planet Fellowship is investing on catalyze research partnerships and networks and will connect African scientists with European scientists to provide valuable exposure for contextualization of climate change research in Africa.
The selection process for 45 candidates from the pool of 903 applicants, who will form the second cohort of the One Planet Fellowship, has now commenced and is expected to conclude in the next four months.
We shall announce the selected candidates here in due time.