The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, has appealed for multidisciplinary research on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to drive advocacy initiatives and influence policies.
He stated the importance strengthening the role of the academia in the implementation of Agenda 2030 and achievement of the related 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while highlighting several institutional and individual actions that could be taken, including conducting multidisciplinary research on the SDGs to drive advocacy initiatives and influence policies.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Lagos State University (LASU) SDG Youth Club organised the University’s Centre for the Actualisation of the UN SDGs (LASU-SDGs), in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Nigeria, Schmale said: “An interdisciplinary centre like this can act as an incubator for new ideas, innovations, and approaches.”
The inauguration ceremony which was officially declared open by LASU Vice Chancellor, Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, was also attended by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Office of SDGs and Investments, Mrs Abosede George; Director, LASU-SDGs Centre, Prof. Tayo Ajayi; and other senior management staff of the university.
Explaining further, the UN Resident Coordinator said that it would be desirable to have a study done on how to make Lagos transport greener; demonstrate through research, the simple value of recycling packaging or eating a more plant-based diet; organise conferences, summits, and workshops for the purpose of knowledge generation; and get the private sector to see the need to accelerate towards sustainability.
He said with COVID, Conflicts and Climate change stalling the progress of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria and across the world, “urgent action is required now if we are to rescue the SDGs.”
Schmale noted that a global SDG Summit in New York scheduled for September marks the halfway point to the 2030 deadline, and “provides an opportunity for world leaders to move from rhetoric to reality, from promises made to promises kept.”
The Vice Chancellor of LASU, Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, disclosed that 800 students across all faculties and Schools in the three campuses of the university, had enlisted to be a part of the LASU-SDG Youth Club, stating that “and I find that very commendable. I congratulate the Centre for this laudable initiative.”
She said: “I believe that this is a bold step that will go a long way in building your human and leadership capacities and prepare you for a lifetime of impact. The benefits are also enormous among which is the exposure you will get to several opportunities available to you as an SDG Ambassador.”
The Permanent Secretary, Office of Sustainable Development Goals & Investment, Lagos State, Mrs. Abosede George, asserted that the younger generation remained the best asset that could drive a thriving society.
She said that the Lagos State Government established the Office of SDGs and Investment to engage the citizenry and inspire both the old and new generation of leaders towards galvanising action to urgently achieve the global agenda.
The Director, Centre for the Actualization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Prof. Tayo Ajayi, stated that the LASU-SDG Youth Club was established to serve as a platform for the youths to share their perspectives and ideas to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
“Active engagement of youth in sustainable development efforts is central to achieving sustainable, inclusive and stable societies by the target date and to averting the worst threats and challenges to sustainable development”. He added.
The President, LASU-SDG Youth Club, Obadare Adenekan, called for continued support and partnership of the United Nations and the Lagos State Government to scale up the reach and impact of the club.
He said: “I am confident that together, we can achieve great things for ourselves, our university, our country, and our planet. Together, we can raise high the banners of the Lagos State University as a model of excellence and sustainable development in Nigeria and beyond.”
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, with the assistance of Assistant Director, LASU-SDG, Dr. (Mrs.) Olayemi Soladoye, later decorated the Vice Chancellor with “SDGs-Wheel” pin as a Champion of SDGs.