Ochugboju leads UN panel on innovative solutions to global environmental crises

By AFS Staff

July 19, 2022

As the world grapples with an array of thorny environmental issues, Alliance for Science Executive Director Sheila Ochugboju will be joining a high-level United Nations debate that seeks innovation solutions.

With the biodiversity crisis worsening and countries struggling to keep global temperatures below the 1.5-degree rise that puts millions of humans at risk, the UN has been holding numerous meetings and conferences.

But “while there has been no dearth of ambition in the commitments made, there is an urgent need for large scale action to bridge the gap between commitment and action,” a UN announcement stated. “The challenge is therefore not the lack of ambitious global targets, but the lack of implementation, including to re-orient financial flows and investments, and to strengthen capacities for science-based decisions.”

In a bid to bridge that gap, the UN is convening “Moment for Nature” from 10 am to 6 pm EDT July 19 in the General Assembly Hall. The high-level thematic debate is intended to achieve the cohesion needed among global environmental work streams to address climate change and rapidly accelerate implementation of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and global COVID-19 recovery.

Ochugboju will be moderating a panel entitled “Innovation to Create Opportunities for All.” It’s intended to address the urgent need for solidarity in identifying sustainable recovery pathways. It will also look at innovations that offer broad-based opportunities and efforts to strengthen the science-policy-action approach on data and early warning for adaptation and risk mitigation. It will be broadcast live here.

“This panel is an excellent example of the role that AfS can play in forging global collaborations that promote science-based solutions across silos and sectors,” Ochugboju said. “Our effectiveness is further heightened by the work of our hosting institution, the Boyce Thompson Institute, which has spent the last century developing world class innovations to promote food security and reduce environmental degradation.”

International panelists include Gabriel Silva, co-founder of Mombak;  Albin Wilson Roam, chief strategy and marketing officer of Roam; João Ribeiro-Bidaoui,  head of global affairs for the Ocean Clean Up, and Eric Chivian, director of the Program for Preserving the Natural World and founder and former director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment Harvard Medical School.

“Humanity is at a moment of reckoning, which requires us to work in synergy and unite all efforts in a moment for nature to maintain hope in our shared future on our blue planet,” the UN announcement stated. “And to do so, these bottlenecks that hinder action across all environmental tracks need to be addressed.”

The “super-session for nature” seeks to identify practical solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting biodiversity on land and sea, restoring life to degraded land and soils, tackling pollution and achieving circular economies.

Goals for the event include presenting solutions to common bottlenecks affecting the entire environmental agenda; forging transformative partnerships, identifying financial capacities to accelerate implementation of solutions and reinforcing the views of a range of stakeholders, including young people.

“Environmental threats are crosscutting, multidimensional and threat multipliers,” the UN announcement stated. “Given that the drivers and impacts of environmental degradation are interlinked, there is a clear need for a coordinated and integrated global response to these challenges.”

Image: A landfill against the backdrop of a polluted city skyline. Photo: Shutterstock/24Novembers