The Global University Consortium on SDG 13, in partnership with UNDESA proudly hosted a symposium on Research & Innovation 4 Climate Action at the 2019 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) held at the UN Secretariat, New York, on Friday 12 July, 2019.
Against the backdrop of the HLPF, this side-event aimed to:
1. share the ground-breaking research and knowledge of member higher education institutions (HEIs) under the Global University Consortium on SDG 13, with a view to influencing new ways of thinking, policy debates and industry practice;
2. demonstrate how innovations of partner HEIs are making a contribution to addressing climate change; and
3. showcase the cross-cutting approach of the consortium to SDGs 4, 13 and 17 and the associated contributions to achieving Agenda 2030.
The side-event opened with introductory remarks from the Permanent Representative of Belize to the UN, Her Excellency Lois M. Young who spoke to the vital role of research and innovation for building resilience especially in regions such as the Caribbean, which she represents, and which is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Presentations were delivered by; Mr. Justin Heavey of the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry on “Innovation 4 Climate Action”; Dr. Helga Flesche Kleiven of the University of Bergen on “Science & Education 4 Climate Mitigation”; Dr. Leena Srivastava of the TERI School of Advanced Studies on “Science Applications 4 Grassroots Resilience Building”; and Dr. David Smith of The University of the West Indies on “Research 4 Climate Adaptation in SIDS”. Ms. Anya Thomas of UNDESA delivered the closing remarks underscoring the value of HEIs, research, and innovation for achieving not just SDG 13 but the entire 2030 Agenda. Furthermore, she emphasized the need to continue building resilience through education and working harder to ensure that knowledge, education and opportunities to learn are made accessible to all members of society, especially the most vulnerable.
Attendees to the event included representatives from; UN agencies (UNDESA, UNECLAC, World Food Programme); other HEIs and HEI Associations (Association of Commonwealth Universities, International Association of Universities, and the University of Bologna); Government organisations (Parliament of Czech Republic, Permanent Mission of Jamaica, Government of Canada); other international organisations (International Disability Alliance).
The highlights included showcasing the significant strides made in research in the fields of biomass energy, carbon sequestration, climate resilient design, and educational outreach and impact; while the interactive discussions focused on; integrating the social sciences into the climate agenda in order to deliver maximum impact to society; leveraging the knowledge generated by HEIs to impact policy and government decision making; and ensuring the most vulnerable countries and social groups are not left behind or forgotten in climate action planning.
Looking beyond the symposium, the next steps will focus on deepening the existing partnerships between HEIs and exploring new collaboration models on research, education, and resource mobilization for climate action.
View and download the presentations here.