The UNU “twin institute” concept
While I was attending the United Nations University UNU side-event entitled “Global Governance Mechanisms for Boosting Green Innovation” today, the 15th of June 2012, at Riocentro, I was stricken by the presentation made by Dr. Timothy Afful-Koomson, Environmental Policy Fellow at the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) based in Accra, Ghana. As the UNU-INRA Institute will deliver its first educational programme in September 2013 under the form of a joint (with UNU-WIDER) PhD in Development Economics, it highlights the march of the “twin institutes” concept:
A twin can be defined as a UNU institute with all the privileges and characteristics of UNU. The main idea that underlies the implementation of a Twin is building true partnerships in research and education and working against brain-drain. Through its Africa Strategy, UNU plays a strategic role in Africa as a facilitator of dialogue, a capacity builder, a provider of postgraduate training, and a promoter of innovation. […] UNU activities in and on Africa aim to foster knowledge creation with a strong emphasis on home-grown and participatory “made-to-fit” solutions.
By conducting research together, the “twin institutes” will aim at fostering knowledge exchanges between “developed countries” and “developing and transitional countries” in an unprecedented way. This genuine partnership will develop better understanding among academics from both sides. As a result, their expertise will be more accurate and enable to tackle the challenges that Africa is facing. Not only the concept allows technology dissemination but also it builds capacity on the ground.
Coming next is the joint curriculum focusing on “sustainable management of resources, such as water, soil, and waste” that will be undertaken by UNU-FLORES and its “twin institute” in Maputo, Mozambique. To be continued…
Finally it is a good occasion to recall the UNU-ViE Priority Africa Initiative’s objective of collaboratively gathering knowledge for the sake of African development. The UNU-ViE team produced an impressive African mapping of their projects entitled “Spotlight on Africa”.