UoN hosts African Symposium on Sustainability Science

The University of Nairobi played host to the first Africa symposium on Sustainability Science, where participants were urged to come on board and champion the success of Sustainability Science.

Sustainability science,  is an emerging field of research dealing with the interactions between natural and social systems, and with how those interactions affect the challenge of sustainability; meeting the needs of present and future generations while substantially reducing poverty .

University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbithi observed that extreme climate, water scarcity, over exploitation of natural resources are some of the threats that high level decision makers in the continent will need to tackle as they deal with sustainable science issues.

In a bid to deal with sustainability issues, the University of Nairobi together with Japan, established ESDA, a consortium that looks into; the management of mineral resources, curriculum development, high education research, challenges that African universities face, low global publication and integration of ICT in the teaching of sustainable science.  By embracing ICT and distance learning, Prof. Mbithi argued that many people will have equal opportunities to access education.

Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Director, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies ( IGES),  challenged the universities to engage more with the society and policy makers to ensure the success of sustainability science.  He elaborated on the need for education and capacity development to produce more experts in this field. He outlined the Paris Agreement, where countries have been tasked to contribute towards the reduction of carbon dioxide by the year 2050. Countries have been encouraged to use renewable energy like solar, wind as opposed to fossil fuels which is destructive to the environment.

“In Japan, Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs , have been integrated in every environmental, social and economic aspect of life. If we embrace sustainable science, we shall be well on our way to poverty eradication,” he said. Prof. Takeuchi paid tribute the late Nobel Laurate Prof. Wangari Maathai who played a critical role in promoting environmental conservation and peace building initiatives.

Dr. Kilemi Mwiria, former Education Assistant Minister, urged universities represented at the symposium to use students to champion sustainability science. He observed that the concept is not widely spread and hence proper means of communication should be used to reach a wider audience. “Intensify graduate training, establish linkages within Africa and with Asia, popularize sustainability science with high school students, build alliance with relevant constituencies, policy makers and institutions, ” said Dr. Mwiria. He observed that if the universities implemented those measures, the concept will be widely embraced.

On university financing, Dr. Mwiria observed that the universities could leverage on their alumni numbers and work together with wealthy philanthropists in Kenya. He noted that Kenya has many wealthy people who could be a great resource to the universities.

The symposium was attended by participants from across the African region.  The one day symposium was held at the Chandaria Center of Performing Arts, University of Nairobi Towers was sponsored by Africa Development Bank and the University of Nairobi among others.

 

Expiry Date: 
Thu, 2019-08-29 (All day)