Global Young Academy promote sustainable solutions to problems within global health and higher education

GYA members and young scientists around the globe propose cross-disciplinary solutions in a Conference Statement published following the recent virtual conference “Heal the Earth: Sustainable Development Goals in a Changing World”.

The statement details recommendations of early-career researchers from six continents, who touch upon cross-cutting solutions to issues of concerns for global health and higher education. All the recommendations highlight the importance of investment in research, education and sustainable development in order to better understand and combat pressing issues of diminishing natural resources, threatened biodiversity and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Global Young Academy (GYA), founded in 2010, focuses on enabling science for all, science for the future, and giving a voice to young scientists and researchers around the world based on their academic excellence and commitment to engage with society.

Key recommendations from the conference:

  • Enabling and strengthening resource sharing through the open science initiative. This can be done by early-career researchers as they familiarize themselves with and interact with their local science-policy interface, as well as with international agreements and global scientific assessments that provide a base for joint and coordinated action. 
  • Working towards improving science literacy by engaging, educating and inspiring themselves and others towards an awareness and trust in science and science journalism. 
  • Implementing multi-sectoral approaches, such as the WHO “One Health” approach, on a local, national, regional and global level. Sustainable development policy and technologies should be based on a paradigm of co-viability between humans, the environment and economic development.
  • Finally, they note that Higher Education Institutions must embrace innovative solutions implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time considering obstacles to digital learning in order to ensure the inclusion of all students and staff.

GYA member of the Executive Committee Robert Lepenies (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany) comments:

“This statement shows that virtual conferences, having taken the place of in-person meetings, can still yield important results. In an online format, it is possible to listen to more diverse voices (reflected in panel contributions and discussion outcomes), be more inclusive of young researchers with care responsibilities and use a variety of interaction methods – in addition to reducing emissions! We at the GYA are now thinking hard about how to bring these virtual debates back into the physical realm, where transformative actions are needed to heal the world.”

Download the full Conference Statement here

Photo by Nikola Jovanovic on Unsplash

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