Theme

Making science, innovation and research work for the sustainable development goals 

17th WASD Annual International Conference
6th Diaspora International Conference

10-12 June 2019, United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya

The theme of the conference is to strengthening the role of science, innovation and research uptake in service of the 2030 Agenda for SD. The conference will therefore critically examine the important role of science, innovation and research for the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda and to provoke forward thinking on the role of science, innovation and research in solving global problems related to sustainability. The problematique of managing science, innovation and research for SD is strongly influenced by the institutional culture in which international discussions have taken place. Successful management of science, innovation and research requires developing new methods and approaches to suit the challenges and opportunities of this new era of digital revolution. These new approaches call for actions to create different appropriate ways of doing things and of doing new things that will be essential to solve our future problems and help in the implementation of  SDGs. Systematic search for opportunities is important for helping to ameliorate the many problems facing the globe. We must therefore produce, consume and organise ourselves differently.

Policy Research

One aspect of the conference is to improve the policy research within the United Nations system to help achieve the 2030 SDGs by addressing the significant demand for evidence-based research across the world. The World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) is inspired by the conviction that the 2030 Agenda and its 17 goals provides momentum for a renewed UN engagement with the academic and research policy institutions and individuals. The conference aims to provide practical recommendations and actions to help transform the way the UN conducts and uses research to achieve the SDGs, and the way research institutes access and benefit from UN data. Participants are therefore invited to address the following key issues in their contribution: how do you see the role of science, innovation and research in service of the 2030 Agenda?; how do you reflect the SDGs in your own research activities?; and do you believe that the UN system is properly using scientific research in finding solutions to global problems?. Please read more details about the UN Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) policy research project A.435 entitled “Strengthening the policy research uptake in service of the 2030“ and you are kindly invited to fill in this  UN Policy Research Survey.

Diaspora as Agents of Development

The collaboration between the Diaspora and those working within the country of origin offers several opportunities and contributes to increase productivity towards sustainable and inclusive knowledge-based growth. Building constructive relationships between the Diasporas and countries of origin require that Diasporas be treated not as a mere resource, but as partners and investors with mutual benefits. It has long been argued that Diasporas will be most interested in contributing to SD efforts when they have a sense of belonging in relation to their country of origin. Therefore it is very important to establish trust between Diasporas and governments in the country of origin. In doing so, governments need to invest in identifying their Diasporas abroad and in understanding their skills and interests. Many sustainability problems can only be tackled by connecting the diaspora with those working within the country of origin, for example combating the results of climate change, diseases such as malaria, reservation of natural resources, fighting land degradation or limiting the loss of biodiversity and many other problems. Moreover, knowledge or evidence-based policymaking is indispensable if gaps in living standards are to be narrowed. Therefore, building capacity in country of origin is necessary for competing in the global arena and there it is critical to turn the diaspora into a positive tool for SD as well as serving as role models for the youth in the country of origin.

Youth Engagement

WASD is very keen to encourage the engagement of children and youth from across the world in the conference. We are keen to make the voice of all our children and youth heard and consequently enabling the decision makers to consider those views and ideas in their big decisions. The entire concept of SD is about the future and the future is all about the children and youth! Youth population is growing rapidly in all regions of the world and we are very keen to understand the children and youth perspectives and expectations for their future to help them be ready to grasp the various opportunities generated in the digital economy. We strongly believe our children and youth should be the cornerstone of any strategy by all governments and policy makers. We must listen to our children and youth and more importantly how we can help our youth with their future employment plans and aspirations. Youth from all-over the world are encouraged to participate in the conference and present their research, perspectives and initiatives.

Women Empowerment

Women across the world have an untapped potential as a primary mover of greater development within their countries and regions. Their role is very crucial for increased development, but challenges remain. And so, significant reforms in economic, social, and political institutions must be made to create an enabling environment for women participation and empowerment. However, it appears that investments in human development are not readily translated to better economic and political outcomes for women. Unfortunately, women’s potential and crucial role in development across the world is still impeded by these economic and social factors. Women’s participation is also very important in advancing peace, unity and combating terrorism, which is a most serious threat to SD across all regions of the world. It has also been recognized that women have been largely excluded from the processes of conflict management and prevention and that their role is important in the achievement of lasting peace and security (UN, 2015). With this, there is a need to increase women’s participation in peace processes since out of 31 global peace processes from 1992 to 2011, only 4% of key stakeholder representatives were women (UN WOMEN, 2011 cited in OXFAM, 2016). Women in peacekeeping missions are also crucial given their broad set of skills that helps in improving trust in communities as a whole (OXFAM, 2016). In general, women’s participation helps in accelerating resolution and countering terrorism while ensuring that women’s rights are protected.

Sustainable Development

The World Commission on Environment and Development famous report “Our Common Future” published in 1987 defined sustainable development (SD) as the development that meets the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. However, since the Rio summit in 1992 SD is increasingly becoming a concern for both developed and developing countries (DCs). Yet, translating the principles of SD into effective economic and environmental policies seems to be a major challenge for all countries.