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Sessions to watch from SRI2022

Three years with the COVID-19 pandemic – success stories and missed opportunities. What is the handprint of the GSDR2019 framework?

Members of the Independent Group of Scientists who wrote the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR2019) discussed how the report have influenced societies around the world in implementing the Agenda2030 and the SDGs, in the shadow of Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The use, as well as progress, have been two-fold, with major successes and negative trends, especially in the poorest countries. Although the situation is polarized, it has made the countries more aware the interconnections between the SDGs and global regions.GSDR2019 was mandated by the UN secretary general in 2016.

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Africa Ecological Futures: Making Nature Count for People and the Planet

Africa has experienced unprecedented growth across a range of development indices for decades. However, this growth is often at the expense of Africa’s biodiversity and ecosystems, jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of people depending on the goods and services provided by nature, with broader consequences for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Encouragingly, Africa can still take a more sustainable path. In this session, we aim to synthesize the key learnings from the African Ecological Futures (AEF) project. We will share the key results of the inter-disciplinary research undertaken to identify and assess the implications of development trends across key economic sectors in Africa, as well as the experiences of a participatory scenario planning process around different situational narratives for the evolution of Africa’s ecological resource base over the next 50 years. These scenarios provided a lens to review pressures on the natural environment, through the drivers, pressures, state, impacts, and responses (DPSIR) framework. Based on the outcomes from these analyses, we discuss opportunities to reorient Africa’s development trajectories towards a sustainable path. In response to the call for post-COVID Green Recovery, WWF is currently launching a new phase of the AEF process, the results of which are targeting policy-makers and financing institutions in the design of their post-COVID recovery plans. Through this session, we aim to engage in dialogue with research groups and other interested parties with similar interests in interdisciplinary research at the science-to-policy interface. We are also hoping that this work can help inform future research and collaborative action by a broad set of actors with an interest in ensuring a sustainable ecological future for Africa.

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UNDP Special Event: The role of Biodiversity Finance in a changing world post the pandemic

In this event, moderated expert panel discussions focused on new and innovative approaches being implemented through the BIOFIN programme under the theme of “Biodiversity Finance in a Changing World Post Pandemic”. These panel discussions focused on government initiatives across Southern Africa to improve investment into biodiversity and increase revenue retention across Protected Area networks as well as showcasing innovative approaches to Biodiversity Finance globally.

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How to deal with injustices in climate adaptation?

Despite their necessity, adaptation projects are not without controversy. Scholars argue that adaptation projects may further increase the vulnerabilities of already vulnerable groups (e.g., deprived households, elderly, ethnic minorities, women) by reproducing social, economic, and political injustices. Therefore, they could jeopardize the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The session delves into system transformations needed to reach social and environmental justice. The goal of the meeting is to spotlight the best-contextualized climate change adaptation policies that reduce injustices.

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The contribution of evolutionary thinking to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires transdisciplinary approaches to accomplish new ways of thinking to solve some of society’s greatest social and environmental challenges. In this session, we discuss how the unique methods, theory, and data from evolutionary biology (i.e., evolutionary thinking) can and are contributing to achieving the SDGs. Several “elevator pitches” from evolutionary biologists and researchers provide a glimpse into the potential solutions for global environmental challenges.

Reese Kassen explores ways to predict new pandemics. What is the link between air pollution and mutations of the DNA? Marc Johnson provides some fascinating evidence to answer this question. Rosa Scherson suggests using evolutionary knowledge to inform conservation decisions at different spatial scales. Ben-Erik Van Wyk presents the origin of medicine traced through the rural Khoi people in South Africa, the ancestors of modern humans.

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A Just and Sustainable Development in Africa: Lessons from South Korea

This panel examines whether digital globalization will intensify the liberal economic development of Africa, a continent already challenged with injustices and unsustainable development. Or will digital globalization present opportunities and generate resources for the continent? The panel looks into a transdisciplinary way of navigating just and sustainable development in Africa by analyzing South Korea’s international development cooperation and aid to the continent.

Presenters approach the topic from various angles. Wiebe Nauta and Taekyoon Kim analyze the possibilities of Ubuntu and Dure communities’ philosophical contribution to the degrowth concept and praxis. Is degrowth a viable alternative to a capitalist logic of economic growth? What can Ubuntu and Dure teach us about connectivity, cooperation, and wealth?

Suk-Ki Kong and Hyun-Chin Lim discuss how the digital revolution and the spread of platform capitalism sparked communal disintegration and value conflicts. They propose a light community model to revitalize local communities in South Korea and potentially on the African continent. Lloyd Amoah and Joseph Ayee reflect on South Korea’s experience in digitalization and socio-economic development to pave the way for Africa’s sustainable and inclusive growth.

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