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Welcome to the Science Summit at UNGA76, a major contribution to advancing Science for the UN SDGs. Online from 14- September - 5 October 2021.
ISC will organise the second edition of the UNGA76 Science Summit around the 76th United Nations General Assembly (SSUNGA76) in September 2021. The objective of the virtual meeting will be to raise awareness of the role and contribution of science to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It will demonstrate initiatives that provide models for global science mechanisms and activities in support of the SDGs, particularly in science infrastructure and capacity building. Science is and will enable sustainable economic, environmental, and societal development. Science is more than a funding prioritisation exercise: science is impacting all areas of policy-making and is playing a more critical role in how policy objectives are achieved and the consequent benefit to people everywhere, including responses to global challenges.
Engagement with policy leadership is more important than ever: UNGA76 is a unique forum for science to demonstrate how policy and political leadership can benefit from innovation. Central to this is the role of nonstate actors and the multilateral fora, which increasingly determine how priorities are set. Science needs to be part of this dialogue and inform outputs through thought leadership, evidence, insights, analysis, and innovation.

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Thursday, September 23 • 5:00pm - 8:00pm
(REF GS23) GeoScience for the SDGs: Earth systems span national borders and play out over timescales well beyond the 2030 horizon of the SDGs.

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Geoscience for the SDGs

The United Nations 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals represent the global strategy for achieving a better future for all. Yet, the Earth subsystems required to support the SDGs have been largely ignored. The agenda overlooks the spatial boundaries and geophysical processes of Earth subsystems such as river basins and coastal deltas, and the consequences of environmental feedbacks on the SDGs remain a key knowledge gap. The problem stems in part from the national-level focus of SDG monitoring and reporting, which is of course a matter of pragmatism in global policy, but it is compounded by the lack of geoscience in the SDG debate.

Excellent progress has been made in evaluating how the pursuit of certain SDGs might affect others globally and across different socio-economic contexts, these assessments are invariably performed with countries as the units of analysis instead of Earth subsystems. Recent research has expanded to account for the SDG interactions between countries that are embedded in global trade, but the interactions among SDGs, as well as the overall success of the 2030 Agenda, may look very different if one considers different environmental contexts, different system boundaries, longer timescales, or indeed other indicators beyond those defined by the 2030 Agenda.

Take, for example, river basins and coastal deltas. Coastal deltas are hugely important places to focus on in order to meet the SDGs, being home to more than 5% of the world’s population despite accounting for less than 0.5% of the world’s land area. Such high population density leads to substantial pressure on environmental resources, as well as challenges in providing adequate housing, ensuring good sanitation, and maintaining health and well-being. Deltas are also hugely important for global food production because of their flat lands, fertile soils and historically abundant freshwater resources. But deltas are precariously positioned between upstream basin development pressures and rising sea levels, and consideration of this Earth-system context will be key to any successful implementation of the SDGs in these places.
The river basins that drain to coastal deltas often span multiple countries, and downstream inhabitants depend on upstream freshwater and other resources provided by the river.

Policymakers need to think longer term and across scales. The processes relevant for Earth systems span national borders and play out over timescales well beyond the 2030 horizon of the SDGs. Focusing on SDG interactions in the here and now could blur important future implications, both ‘here’ and in other places.
Limitations to the national-level structure of SDG monitoring and reporting must be addressed. Better spatial and temporal resolution of SDG indicator data will help5, but this alone will not suffice.

Africa-EU Infrastructure for Geoscience (AEIG)

The “Africa-EU Infrastructure for Geoscience (AEIG)” initiative can provide a bridge between key policy objectives in Europe and Africa. This initiative has been constructed within the framework of the Africa-Europe Radio Astronomy Program (AERAP). The Africa-EU Infrastructure for Geoscience (AEIG) will provide:
• Human capital development including designated funding for the development of young women
geoscientists and young researchers.
• Synergies between African and European geological surveys and research consortia.
• Support for water security, agricultural sustainability, energy security, raw materials
availability especially with regards the critical minerals necessary for decarbonisation, the blue
economy, and community safety from geohazards including climate change and the Green Deal.
• Critical information for global, national region and local government policymakers, land-use
and natural resources management and regulators;
• Digital and sensor infrastructure for geo-and related sciences.

The European Commission’s Africa Strategy calls for partnerships to achieve common goals is in line
with UN SDG 17, “partnerships for the goals” and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for socio-economic
transformation. The foundation for this strong and enduring partnership needs to be rooted in our
shared Earth, informed by the knowledge of what science and technology can bring. Geoscience is
required to justly achieve the green transition and the digital transformation while delivering the United
Nations Sustainable Development Goals for our planet home.

Viable solutions to ensure carbon neutrality in Europe by 2050 must be based on accurate, reliable
Earth-related data. Strategically collecting the vast amounts of necessary data will involve developing
and constructing cutting-edge analytical platforms and ICT infrastructure. It will also require a step-
change to empower African and European citizens to engage in citizen projects throughout our two
continents. The production of young new geoscientists, particularly women, with data analysis and
management skills together with an engaged public will accelerate sustainable growth, create new jobs,
and provides the promise of more virtual mobility through the availability of the new data.
Beyond the direct data and related societally important knowledge gained an AU-EU geoscience
partnership would also yield exciting new insights in fields such as geodesy and geodynamics and is
likely to influence existing fundamental scientific paradigms in myriad other fields from astronomy to

An AU-EU partnership in geoscience can be leveraged through the expansion of the existing cooperation
between the Organization of African Geological Surveys (OAGS) and the European Geological Surveys
(EGS) such as PanAfGeo which has been ongoing since 2016. iCRAG, which is a large multi-institution
the research group working across the full spectrum of earth science and sustainability topics in both
Europe and Africa is ideally placed and actively seeking to aid in ensuring an AU-EU partnership
delivers on goals critical to addressing the primary challenges outlined in the European Commission’s
comprehensive strategy with Africa.

avatar for Juan Miguel González-Aranda

Juan Miguel González-Aranda

CTO, LifeWatch ERIC
Currently LifeWatch ERIC Chief Technology Officer and Director for Spain. ERIC FORUM Executive Board Member representing the ENVRI cluster, and former Chair of ERIC FORUM too.As e-Biodiversity expert holding a PhD. Engineer on Telecommunications, and Industrial Organization-Enterprise... Read More →
avatar for David Khoza

David Khoza

Director, Council for Geoscience’s Executive Management Team, South Africa
David Khoza is geophysicist who’s worked in minerals exploration, mining and geoscience research. After completing BSc Honours degree, David joined BHP Billiton’s mineral exploration division, conducting geophysical surveys primarily in Africa. David took a break and then back... Read More →
avatar for Yassamina Meddi

Yassamina Meddi

Assistant Professor - Researcher Geosciences - MiXtura NGO, University of Sciences & Technology Houari Boumediene USTHB
Yassamina Meddi is a geologist researcher Assistant Professor from 2013 at the University of Sciences and Technology Houari Boumediene USTHB, Algiers, focusing on magmatic petrology and geochemistry.  Preparing a Es-Sciences doctoral thesis in volcanic activity in Algeria’s coastal... Read More →
avatar for Murray Hitzman

Murray Hitzman

Director, iCRAG
Murray W. Hitzman is Director of iCRAG and a Science Foundation Ireland Research Professor. Murray has B.A. degrees in geology and anthropology from Dartmouth College (1976), an M.S. in geology from University of Washington (1978), and a Ph.D. in geology from Stanford University (1983... Read More →
avatar for Dave Applegate

Dave Applegate

Associate Director for Natural Hazards, U.S. Geological Survey
Dave Applegate is the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey. Applegate came to the USGS in 2004 as the first Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards.In addition to his USGS duties, Applegate is an adjunct full professor in the University of Utah's Department of... Read More →
avatar for Anna Nguno

Anna Nguno

Deputy Director, Geological Survey of Namibia
A Deputy Director & head of the Regional Geoscience Division within the Geological Survey of Namibia (GSN), Ministry of Mines and Energy. My work experience includes but is not limited to coordinating geological mapping and research in collaboration with local and international research... Read More →
avatar for Yasushi Watanabe

Yasushi Watanabe

Professor and Chair of the Department of Earth Resource Science, Akita Univesity
Yasushi Watanabe is a full Professor and the Chair of the Department of Earth Resource Science at Akita University. He earned a Ph.D. in Geology at Hokkaido University in 1996. After graduating from Hokkaido University, he joined the Geological Survey of Japan (GSJ), and was enga... Read More →
avatar for Felix Bob Ocitti

Felix Bob Ocitti

Manager, Operations & Compliance, Petroleum Authority of Uganda
Felix Bob Ocitti works as the Manager, Operations and Compliance at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), a statutory body charged with the responsibility to monitor and regulate the Oil and Gas Sector in Uganda.He is a member of the African Union AMREC Working Group charged with... Read More →
avatar for Frank Mugyenyi

Frank Mugyenyi

Executive Director, Minerals African Development Institution
Frank Dixon Mugyenyi is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Minerals African Development Institution (MADI) Ltd and former Coordinator of the Africa Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) a Specialised Agency of the African Union responsible for the implementation of the Africa Mining... Read More →

Thursday September 23, 2021 5:00pm - 8:00pm CEST