Science conference targets sustainable development

By Ilia L. Likou 20 November 2017, 12:00AM

A host of top speakers have been lined up for a Science conference organised by the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.).

To be opened by the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, tomorrow, other speakers include the Director General of S.P.R.E.P., Leota Kosi Latu, Emeritus Professor Rowena Cullen of Victoria University of Wellington; and Professor Peter Lockhart of Massey University.

More than a hundred participants are expected to attend the three-day conference guided by the theme “Science and Technology for Sustainable Development.”

 “The conference is a platform for strengthening collaboration and linkages and conserving and protecting the environment,” S.P.R.E.P’s Acting Director, Roger Cornforth, said during a press conference yesterday.

 “As we have heard the topics range from climate change, waste management and ocean governance, and sustainable development.

“It’s not possible for us to maintain our lifestyles, our cultures and our expectations for the future here in the region unless we have a good sound base for sustainable development.”

The conference is a first major joint initiative between N.U.S. and S.P.R.E.P. since they signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2015.

 “This is the first major event we’ve been able to share and I’m very much looking forward to it.

 “S.P.R.E.P.’s mandate is very much about sustainable development and the use of science and technology to support sustainable development is particularly important for the Pacific region.”

According to a statement issued by S.P.R.E.P., the term “Science” will be looked at in its broadest sense and is inclusive of Technology and Traditional knowledge. 

The conference is multidisciplinary and aims to bring together academics and practitioners in the use and applications of Science for sustainable development.

The conference aims to promote research in Science and provides a forum to bring together scientists to share and profile their research with a particular focus on the provision of solutions and pathways to sustainable development. This is particularly important and relevant within the context of the Pacific with its increasing risk and vulnerabilities and the numerous barriers hindering the realisation of sustainable development goals.

"It is important for S.P.R.E.P. to ensure the work we do internationally and regionally directly benefits our 21 Pacific island members. Working alongside N.U.S. ensures a platform for the sharing of science, research, technology and environmental innovation, to address the many challenges of sustainable development in Samoa and the region, including climate change, ocean conservation, and pollution."

The Dean of the Faculty of Science, Dr. Patila Malua Amosa notes: "The partnership with S.P.R.E.P. is greatly valued by N.U.S. and the opportunity to share a joint platform for research on sustainable development for Samoa is important for the university. 

“The opportunity to engage researchers within and beyond Samoa is exciting with the key note addresses on Integrated Ocean Governance; Sustainable e-Government for Pacific Island States and DNA Diagnostics from Lab to Field".

Other conference topics include: The Contribution of I.C.T.s in Primary Industries in Pacific Island Countries; "Radiant Energy": Another alternative energy source for Samoa?; "It takes a village": Village Outreach and Sustainable Tourism in Palauli District; Seasonal Forecasts and Climate Traditional Knowledge in Samoa to Increase Community Resilience and Sustainable Development; and Benefits of 3Rs for Marine Ecosystem Services and Tourism Industry.  

In addition to presentations from N.U.S and S.P.R.E.P. the conference includes research from the University of the South Pacific, Ibaraki University of Japan, The Open University of Sri Lanka, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, James Cook University, PNG Cocoa Coconut Institute, University of Duesseldorf, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The conference is sponsored by S.S.A.B. and the New Zealand High Commission.

By Ilia L. Likou 20 November 2017, 12:00AM

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