2023 Season’s greetings to fellows, partners and friends
In 2023, the most recent United Nations report on climate change emphasised that it is imperative to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, stating that it is “now or never”. UN Secretary António Guterres underscored the urgency with the warning that the world was on a “fast track” to disaster and called for collective global action to avert a climate catastrophe.
Our world needs climate action on all fronts: everything, everywhere, all at once, he said.
Stepping up the green agenda: a new green master’s programme for 2024
To support the green transition and climate change adaptation, the Danish Government, in collaboration with Danida Fellowship Centre, has launched a new master’s programme. This initiative aims to enhance the capabilities of young professionals from seven Strategic Sector Cooperation programmes in Africa, thus enabling them to become agents of green transformation in their respective countries.
This programme not only strengthens partnerships between Denmark and African countries but also deepens collaboration in addressing the climate crisis, said Dan Jørgensen, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, when launching the 2024 pilot master’s programme on 8 November, 2023.
Danida Fellowship Centre will oversee the programme and the 20 million DKK grant to support around 30 master’s students interested in pursuing degrees in Denmark. The fields will cover environment, climate change, water resource management, urban planning and renewable energy.
The introduction of the green Master’s programme marked the conclusion of a year devoted to advancing the green agenda.
Network and learning activities advancing the green agenda
In 2023, 18 network and learning activities were conducted within the field of green transition, climate change, environment, renewable energy and sustainable food production. The participants, who came from national and local authorities, the private sector, and civil society organisations, engaged in sharing best practices and innovative solutions for a sustainable future. The activities included lectures by Danish and international experts, problem- and case-based learning, exposure visits showcasing Danish expertise, and peer learning sessions where participants presented and discussed challenges and solutions for their own countries and organisations. Read more about our learning methodologies and approaches.
All participants, individually or in groups, developed action plans that reflected their primary learning takeaways, formulating specific action points to implement on their return to their home organisations. These action plans serve as crucial tools to put knowledge into action and they connect the Danida Fellowship Centre learning activities to strategic sector cooperation projects.
For sector counsellors and others involved in sector programmes, the firsthand knowledge gained by the fellows is of great value as it contributes to the practical application of knowledge. This process effectively bridges the gap between learning and action within the sector as illustrated in this video.
In 2023, we also, in collaboration with DHI, the Danish Institute of Advanced Hydraulics, organised a series of online seminars that addressed various aspects of waste and groundwater management, allowing Danida alumni and partners in the water resource community worldwide to exchange knowledge and new ideas. Watch the latest water webinar from November 2023 Flood Management: Early-warning systems and the use of real time data.
Youth innovators were also a key target group for our green focus. A group of young Danida fellows from India, Ghana and South Africa took part in DTU Skylab’s Next Generation City Action Tech Bazar. Many of them concluded the tech bazar by winning prizes for green innovative solutions. Zibusiso Ted Mhlanga and Elijah Djan, for example, won the prize for young entrepreneurs.
Last but not least, Danish embassies appointed young SDG ambassadors to attend the ‘Empowering youth to influence and accelerate SDG implementation’ learning programme that is held in Denmark. The participants came from Mali, Kenya, South Africa, Palestine, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania. A highlight of their stay was the group’s participation in the People’s Meeting (Folkemødet) in Bornholm. Here they took part in panel and dialogue sessions, exchanging views and experiences about our common global future and the global development goals with the primarily Danish festival participants.
Research theme ‘Development under Conditions of Climate Change’
As a result of the 2022 application round, 19 development research projects under the overall theme ‘Development under Conditions of Climate Change’ were selected for funding and started up in 2023. In addition, three research projects in Ethiopia from the 2021 application round were initiated. For the next five years, all these projects will produce valuable findings to questions regarding, for example, climate change adaptation, climate mobility, renewable energy, agricultural production, nature based solutions, and health and food systems. See Commitments to research projects granted under the 2023 Finance Bill
At Danida Fellowship Centre, we follow the research projects closely and provide science engagement training in order to support researchers on their research journey. In the beginning of a research project cycle, Danida Fellowship Centre provides training in tools for making stakeholder analysis and engagement plans. The support continues with training in tools for communication of research results to different stakeholder groups including the public via the media.
In September, a group of climate researchers supported by Danida convened with journalists from various countries across Africa at the MS TCDC training center in Arusha. They participated in a joint weeklong seminar titled Reporting from the African frontline of the global climate crisis. Through skills training and collaboration, the goal was to facilitate the creation of more evidence-based, relevant climate knowledge and stories for African audiences. Following the Arusha seminar, the group of journalists proceeded to the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, organised to establish a unified Africa position as a prelude to COP28. Besides fostering collaboration between researchers and journalists, the tangible outcome of this joint learning programme was the publication of over 150 climate stories on prominent media platforms across Africa.
Phase III of the Building Stronger Universities programme ended in 2023. At the concluding seminar, researchers and administrative staff across the six participating universities in Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana, together with their counterparts from six Danish universities, reported on the programme’s extensive research results in sustainable agriculture, climate change adaptation, health and environment, amongst others.
Network focus on green transition and climate change
In the national Danida Fellows Networks, we also witnessed a strong focus on green transition and climate change in general. In January 2023, at a workshop for network coordinators, the strategic direction for the networks was aligned more closely to themes with direct links to the Danish government’s development strategy. This led to a series of activities, such as a conference in Argentina on water co-hosted by Copenhagen Municipality, the Mombasa Climate Change Dialogue in Kenya, a green transition workshop in Kenya, the development of a viable business based on plastic recycling in Ghana, and an online training for network coordinators on how to sustain and create sustainable networks. Read more and watch the video from the network workshop.
As we approach the end of 2023, I want to extend my thanks to our Danida fellows, partners and friends for collaborating with us throughout the year. We value the opportunity to work together to achieve our mission and shared goals.
On behalf of the Danida Fellowship Centre’s team, I send you warm wishes for a joyful, healthy, and peaceful holiday season to you and your loved ones.
Ulla Næsby Tawiah
Director, Danida Fellowship Centre