“Since the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 - known as the Earth Summit, it was recognized that achieving Sustainable Development would require the active participation of all sectors of society and all types of people”(Major groups related to sustainable development).
“Despite the optimism, researchers and public policy for development analysts are still looking for answers to the burning questions confronting the continent” (Alberto Leny, SciDev.Net).
The World Bank statistics indicate that 75 per cent of the world’s poorest countries are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, including ten with the highest proportion of residents living in extreme poverty.
“Large differences between rich and poor countries are hindering an effective approach in dealing with many global challenges such as poverty, climate change, security and migration, food security, sustainable development and gender inequality. By formulating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the United Nations are aiming to solve these global challenges by encouraging an inclusive world with equal opportunities for everyone and specific attention for developing countries” (NWO-WOTRO aims at Sustainable Development Goals).
On the 25th of September 2015, world leaders passed a resolution to adopt the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - which has succeeded the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - aims to accomplish different goals in order to achieve a number of SDG in Africa. In particular, SDGs are focused on actions to meet Africa’s urgent priorities, to end extreme poverty, hunger and inequality, tackle climate change and build resilient infrastructure for economic growth, achieving access to safe drinking water and energy, and investments in agriculture.
To this end, a number of opportunities - that can offer innovative lessons for Africa - have raised. One of these was (on 3rd February, 2016) the 15th anniversary celebrations of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI), at which the challenges and opportunities in biosciences for Africa’s transformation as well as the role of biosciences in achieving the SDGs in Africa were discussed.
Scientists, policymakers, researchers and international development partners and experts on climate change, energy, food security, nutrition, technology, health or water stressed different aspects and problems facing Sub-Saharan Africa. These latter gave all participants a strong sense of urgency to continue to seek solutions (included innovative approaches) to improve People's Lives. All critical solutions could be promoted through effective science communication (based on a ground-breaking research) and linked to national, regional and global agenda. This framework can be used as the basis for a roadmap towards sustainable development able to lead to a positive transformation of the continent (see also: Agenda 20163. The Africa we want).
For example, agriculture communities — with special regard to rural smallholder farmers - could be linked to innovations in science and technology through a number of favorable policies that are critical to sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural research in the global South should be advocated through effective communication with all those with key roles to play, especially country policymakers and smallholder farmers, to enable sustainable growth within the realm of the SDGs.
Science journalism – having a key role in ensuring that the populace appreciates the role of scientific innovations in transforming Africa - also needs to be strengthened to help bridge the gap in knowledge between scientists and policymakers “which hinders development because a number of countries have policies that are not research-oriented and fail to capture key areas of using science, technology and innovation for transformation” (Gilbert Nakweya).
Last but in no way least, “We either unite or collectively perish, as no single country or region can be an island of prosperity in an ocean of poverty, insecurity and underdevelopment” (Nkozasana Dlamini-Zuma, African Union Commission).
Why SDGs could transform Africa
R&D spending is irrelevant without links to SDGs
Gender diversity in STEM key to achieving SDGs
Focusing on soil health to achieve SDGs
Developing the cold chain in the agrifood sector in Sub-Saharan Africa (FAO, 2016)
Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform of the United Nations
If you are aware of any SDG aiming to promote actions to meet Africa’s urgent priorities, please tell us about it here!