Research cooperation between Norway and South Africa:
Bilateral research seminars with Royal participation
Seminars on research and higher education were held in connection with the King and Queen of Norway's State Visit to South Africa at the end of November. Her Majesty Queen Sonja presided over the joint opening of the seminars.
South Africa and Norway have a longstanding tradition of extensive cooperation in these areas. The bilateral research programme between the two countries has been in operation since 2002, and the Norwegian component is administered by the Research Council of Norway.
The parties have held numerous meetings and conferences since this collaboration began. This time the seminars in Cape Town addressed the further development of their already excellent relations.
Global challenges require global solutions
“Global challenges require global solutions,” said Queen Sonja in her opening remarks at the University of Cape Town, noting that both countries face major challenges related to climate change and the environment. Over the years these topics have been a key focus of the bilateral cooperation between the countries.
The Queen referred to South Africa’s role as host of the FIFA World Cup football tournament in 2010 as she drew comparisons between research and the world’s most popular sport.
“As scholars and scientists, your ‘game’ is to create a foundation for sustainable development and a knowledge-based economy. In the development of education and research you are human resources coaches; your job is to make your students and scholars good players who are contributing to the common goal. This can only happen when everybody finds his or her role in the big picture, equipped with the qualifications needed for successful performance,” she said. “But unlike football, the aim of research is not to beat competitors – but through cooperation to produce knowledge and insights of long-term value to mankind.”
Global warming and the fight against poverty
South African Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor stressed the importance of viewing efforts to cope with global warming in the context of the fight to eradicate poverty, and she praised Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg for his clear focus on this area.
“In addition to being a key player in the petroleum sector, Norway has now become a world leader in clean energy technology, such as carbon capture and storage,” said Minister Pandor. “South Africa wants to learn from Norway about this area and other areas. Student exchange is a valuable initiative in this context. I hope to see more Norwegian students in South Africa and more South African students in Norway in the years to come,” she continued.
“The presence of the King and Queen at this event sends a clear signal about how much our cooperation with South Africa on activities related to research and higher education means to Norway,” said Minister of Research and Higher Education Tora Aasland.
“Our two countries share the same view of many challenges,” she continued. “We both prioritise global research challenges such as protection of the environment and management of climate change, and we consider a focus on research and higher education to be fundamental to sustainable development and democracy.”
“As an up and coming leader on the world stage, South Africa is a crucial partner for Norway. I am pleased that we have similar visions for the future,” concluded Minister Aasland.
- Last updated: