The program is now available for the world’s largest transdisciplinary gathering that brings together leading experts in the global sustainability community. For the first time, the Congress is being held in Panama, bringing the event to the Latin American and the Caribbean region.
More than 1,500 people, including global sustainability research leaders, government and civil society experts, funders, entrepreneurs, and innovators will participate in the third edition of the Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress (SRI2023) from 26-30 June, 2023 in Panama City, Panama.
The event, which will be fully hybrid (onsite and online) and bilingual (Spanish and English), is convened by the Belmont Forum and Future Earth, and hosted by the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), and the National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation of the Republic of Panama (SENACYT).
The objectives of this annual, global event are: to elevate diverse knowledge on sustainability; to provide a platform for sharing innovative and inspiring ideas; and to create an inclusive space for action and collaboration among the diverse actors involved.
Presentation of the SRI2023 Congress in Panama, April 12, 2023. From left to right, Dr. Veera Mitzner, Associate Director of Future Earth; Dr. Nicole Arbour, Executive Director of the Belmont Forum; Dr. Anabella Vásquez, Head of the International Cooperation Office of the Senacyt; Dr. Eduardo Ortega Barría, National Secretary of the Senacyt; Dr. Marcos Regis da Silva, Executive Director of the IAI
“SRI was born out of a need to unite the different communities that are necessary for making sustainability possible,” says Dr. Erica Key, Director of Future Earth Global Hub, USA. “It really brings together not just scientific experts, but also the innovators that are creating new products, new apps, new financial systems, and it ties them together with who live in the communities, with decision makers in charge of public policies; and the artists and communicators that are translating the innovations into a shared reality.”
“We want all these actors to come together in a space,” adds Dr. Key, “with one thing in mind: a sustainable future for all.”
Dr. Nicole Arbour, Executive Director of the Belmont Forum, also stresses the importance of transdisciplinarity for the Congress and for addressing the challenges facing humanity and our planet.
“A large part of society and academia only communicate with people that say the same thing and use the same language, as if they live in silos,” explains Dr. Arbour. “Transdisciplinarity, on the contrary, is about thinking about the world as a system. It’s about bringing together different groups of people who think in different ways toward solving the same problem. That’s why it is so crucial for addressing global environmental change.”
“Global environmental change research is a very complex topic,” adds Dr. Arbour. “But by bringing all of these people together, we’re hoping to create a space where we can foster some of these conversations; where we can build networks and trust.”
“When we talk about climate change, we are not only referring to changes that affect ecosystems, the destruction of biodiversity, or the increase in population migrations. We are talking about a very complex interaction of all these factors,” says Dr. Marcos Regis da Silva, Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI).
“That’s why we need a new vision of science, new methodologies, and also new technologies so that we can understand the complexity of these challenges and, at the same time, develop solutions based on the point of view of different disciplines.”
“A transdisciplinary methodology,” adds Dr. Regis da Silva, “implies the participation of several different communities: local, indigenous, scientific, but also the communities of decision-makers and policymakers. We can offer this event as an opportunity for greater collaboration between these different communities, for more effective cooperation.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF HOLDING SRI2023 IN PANAMA
After its first edition (2021) in Brisbane, Australia, and the second (2022) in Pretoria, South Africa, the SRI Congress will be held for the first time in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region deeply affected by the consequences of climate change.
Panama has a relevant number of scientific research centers, intergovernmental, global, and regional organizations, and recently has positioned itself among the most innovative countries in the field of the green and blue economy.
Also, due to its geographical position, Panama has historically been a crossroads of cultures and continents. In addition to being a logistics and global maritime transport hub, it is positioning itself as a first-rate pole of attraction in the search for solutions to regional and global problems through multiple actors.
“We are very excited that SRI2023 will be held in Panama,” says Dr. Eduardo Ortega Barría, National Secretary of SENACYT. “It is important to bring this type of event to Latin America and the Caribbean, a region that has many needs in terms of sustainability and requires a change in responding to its problems. Panama is going to become a propitious space to address the challenges of our region and propose science-based actions to advance in the solution of these challenges.”
Dr. Marcos Regis da Silva, Executive Director of the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), identifies four main reasons why it is significant for this event to be held in Panama.
The first is that Central America will be the region of the world most affected by climate change and the disappearance of biodiversity.
The second, according to Dr. Regis da Silva, is “the excellent scientific community” that has been developing in LAC, even in the absence of economic resources. “There are research centers in Argentina, Brazil, and other countries that are at a very high world level.” However, continues Dr. Regis da Silva, “we lack a framework to facilitate and promote new scientific methodologies. This event, precisely, is a great opportunity to create new collaborations between American scientists and representatives of different sectors of the global community.”
The third reason is the possibility for Latin America to develop a type of scientific project that could help policymakers make better decisions.
“This event will strengthen regional collaborative networks, generate strategic alliances, and generate synergies that will positively impact all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean,” adds Dr. Eduardo Ortega Barría.
SRI2023: AN AMBITIOUS AND INNOVATIVE PROGRAM
The Congress program will be centered on 4 main themes.
1) Turning the Tide for Climate: Collaborative Action for Institutional Transformation: SRI2023 will explore pathways to informed and just changes in critical systems, such as political/governance, financial, legal, tax, energy and production, transport, research, education, and value systems.
2) Healthy and Inclusive Communities: SRI2023 will explore diverse ways of improving health and well-being around the world.
3) A Peaceful Planetary Mind: How can we achieve planetary solidarity and accept the joint stewardship of planet Earth?
4) Latin America and the Caribbean Science and Innovation for Sustainability: One of the key objectives of SRI2023 is to showcase the richness of Latin American and Caribbean science and innovation in sustainability. From tested local solutions to advanced academic research, the LAC region has a wealth of knowledge and innovation to offer to the wider world. In addition, SRI2023 is hoping to strengthen the regional dialogue and networks by offering an inclusive platform for increased visibility and collaboration.
In addition to the conferences and meetings, 28 June will be the day of the Idea Market, an opportunity for students, young professionals, and innovators to showcase their research, breakthroughs, concepts, designs, prototypes, and sustainability products to the SRI audience and a panel of experts.
On the same day, the Congress will open its doors to the local audience and offer the SRI2023 participants the opportunity to interact with stakeholders onsite. The Open Day is organized in collaboration with the Technological University of Panama and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. It is a unique opportunity for civil society groups and organizations, businesses, and educational institutions to showcase their work to the SRI2023 audience of sustainability professionals gathered in Panama.