The World Academy of Art & Science (WAAS) and the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) conducted an e-conference 'Strategies for Transformative Global Leadership' on 15-19 June 2020 in partnership with the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP). The conference included Role of Academies: Addressing Global Social Challenges, a special session that took place on 18 June.
The panel, moderated by IAP Coordinator Peter McGrath, featured successful initiatives of IAP and its member academies to promote global social transformation in different fields, focusing on academy experiences in offering diverse perspectives to inform policy-making.
"Academies are vital civil society institutions that have the credibility to inform the public and policy-makers about problems and potential solutions," said IAP President Volker ter Meulen explaining the role of merit-based academies in the science-policy arena. Subsequently, Sheryl Hendriks, Head of Department and Professor at the University of Pretoria, introduced IAP's Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture project, stressing the fact that for food security, there is an ongoing need to identify and tackle key targets and to link health-related indicators with the Sustainable Development Goals. Robin Fears, EASAC's Biosciences Programme Director, presented on the new IAP Climate Changer and Health project and the complex relationship between global warming and health, highlighting the fact that the evidence base on the effects of climate change on human health is still rather fragmented, and until recently policy makers tended to neglect this looming public health emergency (you can download Robin Fears' slides here). In her presentation, Jacqueline Olang Kado, NASAC Executive Director, put on the spotlight the role of science academies in Africa's quest to sustainable development and the need to engage with women in science and young scientists, a view echoed by IAP Policy Executive Director and Global Young Academy member Teresa Stoepler, who emphasised the imperative to nurture young leaders around the world. Finally, IAP Young Physician Leaders (YPL) Alumna Atiya Mosam, presented her leadership journey and the critical role a group of peers such as the YPL alumni can play in the life a young person committed to improving health.
You can watch the full panel on WAAS' Youtube page and here: