The implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require the research and intellectual input of academics in order to find creative approaches to address poverty and inequality.
This is according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) deputy resident representative Izumi Morota, who yesterday spoke at a research conference at the University of Namibia (Unam)’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The SDGs – otherwise known as the Global Goals – are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new focus areas, such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other key priorities.
“Engagement in the implementation of the SDGs will be critical to ensure that we are generating a cohort of graduates able to solve development challenges,” said Morota.
She said the successful implementation of the SDGs will depend on the active engagement of governments, civil society, the private sector, the UN system, academia and research institutions. She added that the time is right to use innovative partnerships to leverage new resources and increase the speed and scale of development implementation.
“This conference comes at an opportune moment, one year after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Agenda and a year after President Hage Geingob declared war on poverty and the year in which Namibia’s fifth National Development Plan is under draft,” said Morota.
Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Peya Mushelenga, at the same occasion said universities have a role to play in poverty eradication through research. He added that food production is key to poverty eradication. “The real state of affairs of issues affecting our country, particularly the youth, can best be addressed using research-based information and recommendations,” Mushelenga said.
Similarly, academic disciplines can only keep up with global trends and evolutions through continuous research, he noted. “In the first place, the core purpose of the existence of the University of Namibia is knowledge creation and dissemination through innovative teaching, research and community service,” Mushelenga added.
“Research cannot provide solutions to social problems when it remains technical and inaccessible to the masses and those affected. There is a great deal of research-based papers gathering dust in libraries and researchers’ offices,” Mushelenga remarked, noting that it is highly commendable that Unam is providing a platform in the form of the conference to share research-based findings.