“To Face the Challenges, We Must Make Science Make Sense to All” — Dr. Tenkouano, at Climate Week NYC 2022

In his keynote address at a hybrid event organized by the ‘Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR —Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research— Climate Research for Africa’ program (AICCRA) at Columbia University on the sidelines of the 14th Climate Week NYC 2022, CORAF Executive Director, Dr. Abdou Tenkouano, has urged the Climate Smart Community to link science to action, as the 2030 deadline for achieving the SDGs is looming.

AICCRA organized the forum on September 22, 2022, a few weeks ahead of the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27), scheduled for November 6 to 18, 2022, in Egypt.

The event focused on the theme ‘In a global food crisis, Africa’s opportunity for a climate-smart future’, with the overarching goal to highlight the need to accelerate action against climate change in Africa. 

And when it comes to opportunities, CORAF Executive Director reckons that the best opportunity so far is the one offered by the global food crisis, to tap in transboundary collaboration and harness robust partnerships, in order to tackle together agriculture challenges and make impact on the ground, notably in Africa.

To underpin his words, Dr. Tenkouano points to the AICCRA program as an excellent example, which he believes is “a model for ground-breaking partnerships that ‘connect-the-dots’ in linking science, policy and action.”

Indeed, as recalled on the occasion by Dr. Simeon Ehui, World Bank Regional Director for Sustainable Development for Africa, AICCRA’s objective is to speed up the transfer of climate-smart technologies and innovations from the laboratories to the end users.

However, while it is true that science must be linked to action, the Executive Director of CORAF insists on doing it the right way, especially with a particular emphasis on Africa.   

“Science and research have delivered ground-breaking innovations in agriculture in the past. But to face the challenges ahead, we must make science make sense to all by better connecting global science with the agendas of African institutions and changemakers,” said Dr. Tenkouano.

“According to estimates, at least 828 million people globally –123 million people in sub-Saharan Africa– are unable to meet their minimum food consumption needs right now. This means that 01 in 07 hungry people in the world is an African, and that 01 in 10 Africans is hungry. If we succeed in reversing the trends in Africa, where I come from, we will have learnt on how to do the same for the rest of the world,” he argued.

Youth and Grassroots Community Centric Approach

Making science make sense to all, also implies adopting an inclusive approach with regard to gender, especially by involving the youth in the programs, underlines the expert.

The future belongs to them and their message is clear, he said: “If you don’t do with them, you don’t do for them.”

Also, taking a cautious approach is essential, while bringing the climate-smart technologies and innovations -the results of science- to farmers, who are quite conservative and hold to their habits and customs.

“Disruptive technology should be implemented in a non-disruptive way,” pleaded Dr. Tenkouano.

Dr. Abdou Tenkouano, CORAF Executive Director, responding to questions during the panel discussion.

As usual, this 14th edition of Climate Week NYC takes place alongside the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Thus, it brought together policymakers, scientists, social activists and journalists to collectively craft a common message on what Africa’s global partners need to deliver at UNGA, and COP27.

Partners of AICCRA’s forum include the World Bank and Columbia Climate School.