UN Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed University of Botswana Associate Professor Opha Pauline Dube in the Department of Environmental Science, to a 15-member panel of eminent scientists to draft the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report.
The UN Secretary-General announced the panel on October 27, 2020 following an extensive consultation process. The team is made up of diverse individuals representing a wide range of disciplines, expertise and backgrounds. As mandated by United Nations Member States, this independent group of scientists and their Report will inform the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Report aims to strengthen the science-policy interface and to serve as a strong evidence-based instrument to support policymakers in promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development.
The next Global Sustainable Development Report will be published in 2023, feeding into the high-level global review of the 2030 Agenda at the United Nations in September of that year.
Professor Dube joins 14 other eminent international scientists. She is one of only three appointed from Africa. Professor Dube is a global environmental change scientist who has served in and led local, regional and international research initiatives, applying innovative approaches to pull together resources and motivate groups; and integrating natural and social sciences to address environmental challenges of major societal concern such as land degradation, climate change, environmental hazards and disasters and others.
She is Co-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Climate Research for Development (CR4D) in Africa and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability Journal. In 2019 Professor Dube was voted as one of the 100 Most Influencial people in climate change in the world. As the only person from Botswana, she was therefore one of only two from Africa to make it to the list. Early this year, Professor Dube was also elected vice chairperson of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Scientific Advisory Panel.
Established in 2019, the Advisory Panel consists of world leading scientists and serves as a major think tank giving strategic guidance in decadal timeframe. It comprises 15 eminent international experts who have been tasked with advising WMO’s Congress and Executive Council on matters concerning research strategies and the optimal scientific directions for the coming decades. WMO also established a Research Board consisting of high-level experts on weather, climate and water research related to service and infrastructure development.
Therefore, the election of Professor Dube was part of a wider WMO restructuring drive which sought to embrace the public, private and academic sector in support of the science to services process and an Earth system approach to produce a wide range of multi-hazard weather, climate, water and ocean services. Further, Professor Dube’s election was to cement engagement with the broad science community and support the evolution of its mandate in weather, climate, water and related environmental and social sciences.