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Dive into a sea of knowledge at SRI2021: Meet our plenary speakers

We are counting the days to the Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress 2021 (SRI2021) and are pleased to bring you a full agenda featuring sessions with some of the world’s leading experts in sustainability science, policy and decision-making.

As the first transdisciplinary gathering in sustainability, SRI2021 welcomes voices from around the world to share their unique insights into issues that affect us all. The Congress will leverage the contributions of more than 100 sessions to ignite a sustainability transformation grounded in action across disciplines.

To help guide the way is our world-class list of Plenary speakers who will share their perspectives, experience and wealth of knowledge in Plenary sessions from June 12-15.

“SRI2021’s outstanding line-up of high-level Plenary speakers reinforces the currency of our global agenda. We are honored to have global sustainability giants among our list of speakers for our inaugural event. SRI2021’s Plenary sessions are unmissable,” said Tayanah O’Donnell, Director of Future Earth Australia.

Our Plenary speakers will discuss the COVID-recovery, our pathway to 2030 and beyond, incorporating indigenous knowledge in sustainability science and action, and equity and equality in the sustainability space.

We dive straight into the action on day one with the Opening Plenary, Oceanic Perspectives on Advancing the Global Sustainability Agenda. Moderated by Stan Grant, Vice Chancellor’s Chair, Australian / Indigenous Belonging, Charles Sturt University, this session brings together Australian and New Zealand experts to discuss the importance of indigenous perspectives.

“Indigenous knowledge, values and practices need to be recognized and empowered within legislation, governance structures and management approaches as a way to redress the injustices experienced by Indigenous peoples and to combat environmental degradation,” said Meg Parsons, Professor at the University of Auckland.

Parsons will be joining and Josh Gilbert, Indigenous consultant, agriculturalist and innovator, and Sharan Burrow, General Secretary for the International Trade Union Confederation. This opening Plenary will give insight into how experiences and worldviews from different communities across Oceania shape research and innovation to forge sustainable futures both at home and more broadly.

“I believe SRI2021, on the back of Reconciliation Week, provides a great opportunity for Indigenous people to connect with those in the broader sustainability community and connect with new meaning to drive for a shared agenda. This is about action and truth telling, sharing and commitment,” said Joshua Gilbert, Plenary Speaker.

Add the Opening Plenary: Oceanic Perspectives on Advancing the Global Sustainability Agenda to your agenda

Sustainability for Whom? builds upon the momentum of our popular SRI Talks series to explore the conscious and unconscious biases in our quest for global sustainability. The session will shine a light on the issues of equity and equality in all areas of sustainability science, research and innovation.

  • Lidia Arthur Brito, Regional Director for Sciences, Latin-America and Caribbean, UNESCO;
  • Rebecca Matsie, Senior Researcher, South African Local Government Association;
  • Jessica Hellmann, Executive Director, University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, Ecolab Chair in Environmental Leadership;
  • Rémy Rioux, CEO of Agence française de développement, and Chairman of the International Development Finance Club;
  • Filippo Veglio, Managing Director of WBCSD

Add Plenary 2: Sustainability for Whom? to your agenda

Building Resilience for a Post-COVID World will highlight why resilience is not simply about ‘bouncing back,’ it is also about being willing to learn and adapt, even transform. Be sure to add this session to your agenda to explore transforming knowledge into action to build resilience for a brighter future.

  • Valérie Verdier, Chairman of the Board and CEO of IRD;
  • Leena Srivastava, Deputy Director General for Science, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria;
  • Sir Peter Gluckman ONZ KNZ FRS, Heads Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures, University of Auckland, Chair, International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA) and President-elect, International Science Council (ISC);
  • Lil Alessa, Chief Scientist, Joint Special Operations University;
  • Zarina Patel, Associate Professor, University of Cape Town.

Add Plenary 3: Building Resilience for a Post-COVID World

In our final Plenary, To 2030 and Beyond, you will explore insights from the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report. The report marks milestones in reviewing and evaluating worldwide progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Imme Scholz, Deputy Director, German Development Institute;
  • John Agard, Director, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago;

Scholz and Agard bring decades of experience to our final Plenary that will begin to plan the next steps forward. They will also welcome our five SRI2021 Early Career Champions to highlight the five thematic pillars of SRI and cross-generational insights on the Global Sustainable Development report.

Add Plenary 4: To 2030 and Beyond to your agenda