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Overseas Scientific Collaborations and their Role for Mirroring Humanitarian Catastrophes

Authors:

Abstract

Conflict has deep historical roots in the horn of Africa, particularly in Ethiopia. Such conflicts often go hand in hand with humanitarian catastrophes including famine and mass-displacement (Annys et al. 2021). The Tigray region of Ethiopia has experienced such conflict induced catastrophes in the 1984/85 (Deckers et al. 2020), and now again (Nyssen et al. 2021a). The current conflict has resulted in world’s worst humanitarian-catastrophe in a decade. In an attempt to report the humanitarian situation, researchers have partially succeeded bypassing the communication-blackout. This was made possible because of the long-standing collaboration between Flemish Universities and Mekelle University, through which many Ethiopians studied in Belgium and many Belgian researchers did research in Ethiopia. Besides, during the history of academic collaboration, Belgian researchers showed strong commitment towards communities in Ethiopia, engaging as far as disentangling unnoticed profound agricultural policy biases (Nyssen et al. 2017). This has equipped researchers an opportunity to establish vast field knowledge and community integration enabling field data collection in wartime. Here, we show how such overseas scientific collaborations were important in mirroring the dire humanitarian situation since the devastating conflict started in November 2020. It has resulted in an internationally recognized atlas documenting the tragic humanitarian situation including 260 massacre incidents, public services interrupted, 2.1 million displaced living in grim conditions, at least 400,000 people in famine conditions, and agricultural production declined by over half further threatening to compound hunger crisis (Annys et al. 2021; Asfaha et al. 2021; Nyssen et al. 2021a, 2021b, 2021c). These scientific outputs served as reference points for various UN, EU and US humanitarian and human-rights organizations, and worlds major media-outlets. Hence, overseas scientific collaborations not only responds to research questions, but also serve as a reference-point informing the general public and diplomatic-circles working towards cessation of hostilities and improved humanitarian situation.
Multidisciplinary Workshop
Scientic Missions and their Advancement for Overseas Sciences: Past, Present and Future
Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences
Brussels, 20 December 2021
38
Overseas Scientic Collaborations and their Role for Mirroring Humanitarian
Catastrophes
1*ANNYS1, Biadgilgn 1,3 & Jan 1



often go hand in hand with humanitarian catastrophes including famine and mass-displacement ( et al.

et al. 2020), and now again ( et al. 2021a)�
        


 

Besides, during the history of academic collaboration, Belgian researchers showed strong commitment

( et al.-

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  
 et al. et al.
 et al. 2021a, 2021b, 2021c)�

-
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
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 et al. 2021� August 2021 status of cropping in the wider surroundings
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happen again� — The Conversation
et al� 2017� Geographical determinants of
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Conversation
&2021b� Ploughing in the Tigray War� —Submitted
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A new military conflict is sadly unfolding in the Horn of Africa. On November 4th, 2020, a military conflict erupted between the forces of the federal government of Ethiopia and the regional government of Tigray, in the country’s North. However, as scholars who have examined issues related to food security in the region since 1985, we are very concerned that the situation will lead to famine. Many have already died in this escalated conflict, but we fear that even many more will die because of hunger if no humanitarian assistance is allowed to enter Tigray. https://theconversation.com/ethiopias-tigray-region-has-seen-famine-before-why-it-could-happen-again-150181
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