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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 30 • 10:00am - 11:30am
(REF UV30) The role of universities through research and strategic partnerships in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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The role of universities through research and strategic partnerships in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In an era where global concerns about sustainability issues are at a peak as shown by the current agenda of the international community, international universities have a crucial role to play. The UN Gs) provide a platform for country-level commitments towards transforming our world and different national governments have been aligning and trying to comply with these. Internationally, however, the success of a sustainability framework has been dependent on cohesion and a strong working relationship between the public and the private sector through in many parts of the world; this remains a challenge. With the private sector contributing overwhelmingly towards national economic output, while at the same time in part responsible for devastating environmental degradation, what is the role of universities navigating and influencing government, private sector and local communities towards achieving the UN SDGs?

As Africa witnesses an increase in private sector investment, technological development and industrialization across a wide range of sectors and with the recent and ongoing pressures from the global pandemic, there is a need for a national policy level consideration of sustainable models that promotes eco-innovation for a green economy and solution-driven research is at the heart of this, addressing the UN SDGs. 

Eco-innovation has the capacity to deliver the tools needed for Green Growth and sustainable development. Those tools will be commercially successful products, services and technologies that reduce the impacts of human activities on the environment, achieve more efficient/responsible uses of natural resources and enhance societal, economic, and technological resilience to environmental pressures. These are key objectives of the UN SDGs. However, it must be clear that eco-innovation cannot be achieved without quantitative and qualitative research, resource mobilization and strategic partnerships. The focus must be given to sustainable solution-oriented research models that bridge the gaps between academia and industry.
For universities to fulfil their role in achieving or supporting the UN SDGs, there must be a high-level management buy-in and strategy to integrate sustainable principles in every aspect of its operations. Whether it be in research, training/teaching and learning of students, engagement with communities, infrastructural development or administration.

Experiences at different sustainable development projects, including the Lancaster University 7 million pound Circular Water Economy RECIRCULATE project and the 700,000 pounds ACTUATE waste to energy demonstration project in West Africa, show that universities are key drivers of effective eco-innovation for two reasons. First, they are ‘anchors’ in co-designing co-developing and co-delivering research-driven eco-innovation partnerships with the private sector, which ultimately deliver “environmental solutions”. Second, they play a key role in delivering the high level (graduate/post-graduate) skills that are essential to driving forward eco-innovative policies, products and services. However, exploiting the power of universities to drive sustainable development will require significant capacity building to bridge the current, very significant gap between academia and industry.

avatar for Gonzalo Márquez

Gonzalo Márquez

Secretary of the Presidency, National University of La Plata (UNLP), Argentina
Gonzalo Márquez graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Biology -oriented Ecology- from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Museum of the National University of La Plata (UNLP), Argentina. He completed his Doctoral thesis at the same university, studying the spores of Cyatheaceae (tree... Read More →
avatar for Erik Ruuth

Erik Ruuth

Scientific Coordinator, IMiBio
Erik Ruuth, M.D., PH.D., Ass. Prof. is a medical doctor with a Ph.D. in immunology and an adjunct professor in cell and molecular biology at Umeå University.After completing a postdoc at Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades in Paris, France, Erik made a career within the pharmaceutical... Read More →
avatar for Raveenthiran Vivekanantharasa

Raveenthiran Vivekanantharasa

Lecturer, The Open Univetsity of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka
I am Raveenthiran Vivekanantharasa, Lecturer, Faculty of Education, The Open University of Sri Lanka. After working as a lecturer and instructor in the field of English in various government institutions in Sri Lanka and as a director of an NGO in Sri Lanka for some years, I was appointed... Read More →
avatar for Pascal Doh

Pascal Doh

Senior Researcher, Diaspora Academic Network for Africa
Dr. Pascal S. Doh is Founder of a Finland-Africa Platform for Innovation in 2019 and of A Europe-Africa Diaspora Professional Network. He is specialised in Higher Education (HE) Management and Governance and resident in Finland. He holds a Ph.D in Higher Education Management from... Read More →
avatar for Kirk T. Semple

Kirk T. Semple

Professor of Environmental Microbiology, Lancaster University
I am a Professor of Environmental Microbiology with over 30 years of research experience. As Director of International Engagement in the Lancaster Environment Centre and, more recently, Assistant Dean International for the Faculty of Science and Technology at Lancaster University... Read More →
avatar for Lawrence  Ezemonye

Lawrence Ezemonye

I am a Professor of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Forensics with over 30 years of research and teaching experience. I began my teaching career with the College of Education, Benin, where I rose to the position of a senior lecturer and Dean of the School of Sciences. I then joined... Read More →
avatar for Akanimo Odon

Akanimo Odon

Lancaster University
DR AKANIMO ODON PROFILE Dr Akanimo Odon holds a master’s degree in Environmental Rehabilitation, a PhD in Environmental Management from Lancaster University, UK and business and enterprise certifications and fellowships from Cambridge University UK, Stanford University USA and MIT... Read More →
avatar for Felly Mugizi Tusiime

Felly Mugizi Tusiime

Head of Program; Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability, AFRICA INNOVATIONS INSTITUTE UGANDA
Dr Felly Mugizi Tusiime – Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Program Lead, Africa Innovations Institute Uganda Dr. Felly Mugizi Tusiime - Biodiversity, Climate Change and Environment Management expert.Dr. Felly holds a PhD in Environmental Management from Makerere University... Read More →

Thursday September 30, 2021 10:00am - 11:30am CEST