Historic step: African countries join EDCTP2

06 May 2014

Today, eight African and eight European countries have formalised their participation in the second programme of the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) as their representatives signed the documents of the EDCTP Association. The ceremony took place as part of the meeting of the EDCTP General Assembly on 5 and 6 May 2014. The direct and full participation of African countries in the governance and the execution of the programme is an historic step for EDCTP, an African and European partnership to fight poverty-related and neglected infectious diseases. All participating States have voting rights in the EDCTP General Assembly, the ultimate and exclusive decision making body of EDCTP.

All clinical trial activities supported by the EDCTP programme take place in Africa. Therefore, it is of crucial importance for EDCTP to have a governance and management structure in place that respects and practically implements African co-ownership as well as the European partnership and input. This approach recognises the considerable input from sub-Saharan African institutions, communities and ministries to EDCTP activities. It also recognises the ultimate authority over these activities of the governments that represent the populations which take part in the research and who should benefit from its results.

Professor Charles S. Mgone, EDCTP Executive Director commented: ”Granting full membership of EDCTP to African countries opens a new chapter in the partnership. It will certainly enhance co-ownership of the programme and increase political and financial commitment”.

The nine African countries that will become members of the Association are:
Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Zambia is expected to sign soon.

Care will be taken to ensure that the voices of countries that are not directly represented will also be heard. The EDCTP Association governance also allows participation by a group of African countries. Additionally, several African regional organisations have representatives in the General Assembly with observer status.

Professor John Gyapong, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Innovation & Development), University of Ghana and representative of Ghana in the EDCTP Association: “This is a great opportunity for African countries to participate in a laudable initiative. I am very satisfied about the inclusion in the programme of the neglected infectious diseases. Now, as full members, African countries can participate actively in advancing our knowledge to curb the poverty-related and neglected infectious diseases that plague most sub-Saharan African countries.”

Dr Mark Palmer, EDCTP General Assembly Chairperson, Prof. John Gyapong, representative in the EDCTP Association for Ghana, and Prof. Charles Mgone

The 14 European countries to participate in EDCTP2 are: Austria, Denmark, Finland (new member), France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
France and United Kingdom signed earlier in April while Austria and Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Sweden are expected to sign soon.

EDCTP Association
The EDCTP Association was established in The Hague, the Netherlands on 10 April 2014. Dr Mark Palmer, Chairperson of the EDCTP General Assembly and representing the United Kingdom and Dr Guillaume Fusai representing France signed the incorporation papers.

The EDCTP Association is the dedicated implementation structure for the second programme. EDCTP changed its structure from a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) to an Association under Dutch law in order to enable sub-Saharan countries to become full members of EDCTP, together with all countries associated to Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Today, the General Assembly selected the members of the Board of the EDCTP Association:

  • Dr Mark Palmer (United Kingdom, chairperson)
  • Dr Detlef Böcking (Germany, vice-chair),
  • Professor Stefano Vella (Italy, vice-chair)
  • Professor John Gyapong (Ghana)
  • Professor Francine Ntoumi (Congo)
Members of the EDCTP General Assembly at the meeting on 6 May 2014

On 15 April 2014, the European Parliament approved with 646 out of 671 votes the participation of the European Union in EDCTP2.

European Union support
The development of the second EDCTP programme received strong support from the European Union. The contribution of the European Union to EDCTP2 required a co-decision from the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

Today, 6 May 2014, the Council took a positive and final decision on the funding of EDCTP as part of Horizon 2020.

This legislative process was initiated by a 2012 proposal from the European Commission. The Commission decided to support a second programme based on the results from the first EDCTP programme and the strategic business plan for EDCTP2 submitted by the current EDCTP Participating States and supported by their up-front financial commitments. The successful establishment of a second programme is the result of these coordinated efforts.

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