Higher Education Authority (HEA) Director General, Professor Stephen Simukanga, has stated that addressing current global challenges requires international science-based responses towards sustainable solutions.
Professor Simukanga was speaking when he made a presentation during a series of meetings between the Assistant Director-Generals (ADGs) and Member States at which the Representatives of the Permanent Delegations to UNESCO were invited to participate in the Organisation's Strategic Transformation and reflection on its medium-term strategy for 2022-2029.
During his presentation, the Director General stated that UNESCO was positioned to foster such solutions through its international science programmes and policy advice, with its unique UN mandate encompassing a broad scope of scientific fields, as it provided a global platform for debate with a focus on universal human rights and benefit to all.
“When examining the trends for UNESCO’s possibilities for action, Climate Change should be recognised as a socio-economic issue, as it spares no one, but exacerbates, in particular, the stress on local communities,” Professor Simukanga said.
The Director General emphasised that there was a need for science to action mitigation and adaptation methods, including how to cope with extreme weather events.
The series of meetings, which took place in Paris, France, from 16th – 17th July, 2019, were designed to allow Member States to engage with each Programme ADG in a reflection on the major trends, opportunities and challenges that are likely to have an impact on the Organisation's work and future programmes in each of its fields of competence, and help chart the future strategic orientations for the years ahead.
These meetings provided a valuable basis for the next transversal and interdisciplinary reflections which will take place in the fall of 2019.
Further, Professor Simukanga stated that water and STEM Education should remain high on the agenda for UNESCO’s possible action for the future as water security is central for sustainable development and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) will students to use academic concepts to solve real problems.
“Science for agenda implementation must be considered especially challenged by climate change, with many countries, notably in Africa, facing water scarcity and water related disaster for the years to come,” he stated.
Professor Simukanga has been designated as the President of the Natural Sciences Commission at the 40th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO.
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