GDL Incubator Lab: 16 to 19 June 2019, Accra
The overall aim of the 2019 curriculum is to investigate the potential for realising the demographic dividend in Africa, and thereby to examine how new formats for international collaboration can help to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more effectively. Our work in 2019 is contributing directly to SDG 17, whose focus is strengthening partnerships to support and achieve the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda.
As a key element of the curriculum, the Incubator Lab in Accra focused on generating a better understanding of the global frameworks that govern the discourse on population dynamics and the ways in which these structures attempt to support economic development. In particular, we explored how the perspectives and narratives of different stakeholders influence the possibility of Africa achieving a demographic dividend.
In Accra, participants learned about the challenge of collaboration from various local institutions – i.e. the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC) and Impact Hub Accra – and experts who shared their experiences. Splitting up into smaller groups, GDL members visited various Accra-based projects – the Centre for Democratic Development and Afrobarometer, National Population Council, SOPODIVA Training Centre and the Street Children Empowerment Foundation – where they gained further insights into certain aspects of the overall challenge.
Coming together with voices from Ghana, the participants were able to contrast the pan-African perspective with perspectives from other regions in the world. Through methods such as storytelling, they built on new narratives to gain access to the topic of the demographic dividend and find new ways of triggering collaborative solutions that can be translated into practical policy.
During the Impact Lab, in Berlin from 27 to 30 October, ideas and strategies which participants developed in Accra in order to establish sustainable methods to achieve the demographic dividend were further elaborated on . The whole 2019 curriculum is developed and implemented in partnership with the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany as its challenge holder.
Both the GDL and the Federal Foreign Office acknowledge that population dynamics are an essential global factor that is impacting cities, states and continents. We recognise that demographic growth brings benefits and challenges which are viewed differently by global, continental and local actors. Hence arriving at a common understanding and generating synergies that enable political and economic inclusion for the next generation are not self-evident.
GDL Impact Lab: 27 to 30 October 2019, Berlin
The 2019 curriculum is developed and implemented in partnership with the German Federal Foreign Office as its challenge holder. The overall aim of the 2019 Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL) curriculum is to examine how new formats for international collaboration can help to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more effectively, in concrete terms by investigating ways to collaborate to realise the potential of the demographic dividend in Africa. It is implemented over five phases with an Incubator Lab (16-19 June 2019 in Accra) and an Impact Lab (27-30 October 2019 in Berlin) as key elements. The design of activities in each phase varies from member-to-member communication and larger virtual sessions to Lab experiences and the implementation of projects.
The Impact Lab
With the support of the findings of the Incubator Lab in Accra and of member and online activities in between the Labs, we have organised the GDL Impact Lab in Berlin. GDL members launched a compendium of essays on how governments and institutions can manage and take advantage of the demographic dividend and which role young people can play as actors of change. Online activities, such as virtual sessions, have provided information on various stakeholders, who may not yet have had a voice, and on ideas on how to form collaborations. The programme of the Impact Lab in Berlin enabled members to discover and test different methodologies, both for identifying stakeholders and collaborating.
With the aim of experimenting with possible formats for collaboration and communication, the Impact Lab in Berlin brought together GDL members as a design team to work co-creatively with the challenge holder and selected relevant stakeholders from Africa to explore what is desirable from an international relations point of view, what is technologically feasible and what is economically viable. In the process, GDL members developed their understanding of the dynamics of the realpolitik of diplomatic cooperation, as well as their design-thinking and appreciative-inquiry skills.
The outcomes are summarised in this report which also contains recommendations for the challenge holder on how to engage with relevant stake holders. GDL members stand ready to serve as facilitators in potential processes of interest for the challenge holder in various African communities in the future. Furthermore, a collection of essays will be published this year.