University highlights importance of UN Sustainable Development Goals in Parliament

Representatives from governments around the world, parliamentarians and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) joined colleagues from the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) at an event in Parliament last night (Wednesday 20 June), to highlight the importance of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, a member of the Commons International Development Select Committee, spoke about how critical this vital work is to create a more sustainable planet.

Gillian Keegan MP, co-chair of Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the UN SDGs, added that she was keen to explore the connections between the different goals for global development; the focus of the important research taking place as part of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (which is a key partnership between the University of Sussex and the Institute of Development Studies).

Professor Joseph Alcamo, Director of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme, and former Chief Scientist to the United Nations Environment Programme, told guests that science and research have a vital part to play in providing policy makers with the evidence and strategies to help achieve these global ambitions.

He stressed the importance of focussing on the synergies amongst the different development goals, to enable them to be accomplished as efficiently as possible and to support lower and middle-income countries to exploit these connections, so that no one and no place in the world is left behind.

Ethiopian Ambassador, His Excellency Dr Hailemichael Aberra Afework and Gillian Keegan MP were amongst guests discussing the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the parliamentary reception

Professor Alcamo also described the importance of ensuring that action to achieve one development goal does not undermine another. For example, using mechanised rather than sustainable farming methods to produce more food in the world would hamper efforts to achieve clean water.

Colleagues were joined by Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr Papa Owusu-Ankomah, who spoke about the work his country is doing to try and progress the implementation of these key ambitions for global development, as well as by the Ethiopian Ambassador, His Excellency Dr Hailemichael Aberra Afework.

Professor Melissa Leach, Director of the Institute for Development Studies, closed the speeches encouraging everyone attending to have rich discussions and to make new connections, emphasising the importance of building partnerships and using local knowledge to help identify where synergies between the SDGs can be found.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP addressing the parliamentary reception about the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Speaking after the event, Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell said: “The reception was an opportunity to focus on the vital research taking place within the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme to achieving the UN SDGs and is an example of the excellent partnership between the University and the Institute of Development Studies, which builds on Sussex’s tradition of interdisciplinary research that will make a real difference to the world.”

The Sussex Sustainability Research Programme webpages have further information about the programme, which is active in 12 countries.

Main photo  – Professor Joseph Alcamo addressing the parliamentary event on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

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