The World Literacy Summit and SDG No. 4 – Education

Rebecca Woodcock, BA Politics at Newcastle University

Newcastle University has some great academics focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals. As the World Literacy Summit moves online this week due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we thought it would be a good idea to focus on SDG 4, inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning.  

The 2020 World Literacy Summit 2020 is the fourth summit hosted by the World Literacy Foundation. It combines speeches from international literacy specialists, including NGO leaders, academics and literacy entrepreneurs. The discussion will share knowledge of the worlds literacy statistics, improvement and goals for the future.

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SDG 5 – Gender Equality and International Women’s Day 2020

Rebecca Woodcock, BA Politics at Newcastle University

As the GCA’s week of focusing on gender equality comes to a close, it’s great to look back on the events our interns and staff at Newcastle University have been involved with in the fight for SDG 5.

First, Elle, one of our interns and PhD student researching adolescent girls’ empowerment through citizen scientist afterschool clubs, attended COCO’s #EachforEqual event at Newcastle Business School. The event explored COCO’s aims and missions towards achieving gender equality, voices from local entrepreneurs supporting BAME communities and speakers challenging gender bias’s in the workplace and the taboo of menopause. The event notably celebrated women from all backgrounds, cultures and locations as we strive for gender equality in our region and beyond. Some of the stand out quotes were as follows:

Salha Kaitesi, who works with Teakisi, an online platform creating a space for African women to empower and celebrate each other, stated that ‘representation is empowering communities’ when talking about the experiences BAME communities face in society. Salha went on to discuss the inequalities that African women and WOC face in society, such as the persistent racial inequalities in the labour market, education, home ownership and employment in the public sector.

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To engineer sustainable solutions for water – value it differently

Brett Cherry, Newcastle University

Engineering sustainable solutions to the world’s water problems is not a pipe dream, people have been doing it for centuries. Water is the essential ingredient to life. But how water is valued globally is in need of a complete overhaul if we’re going to get serious about addressing global challenges that threaten our own species as well as others.

Fortunately, there are many innovative and common technical and social solutions to water resource problems that affect all countries, but especially low to middle-income ones.

Here are some key examples:

Engineering is necessary to delivering all these as well as similar solutions, but applying them has much to do with context and meaningful interactions with all stakeholders involved. Continue reading

Global Challenges Summit 2019 highlights role of North East

Elle Young, MA student in International Development & Education, Newcastle University

Newcastle University hosted the fourth annual Global Challenges Summit in Newcastle. The Global Challenges Academy at Newcastle University works in close partnership with Northumbria and Durham Universities, in supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to seek peace and prosperity for all people and the planet by 2030.

Fostering research and international partnerships to realise the SDGs, are the core values of the Global Challenges Academy, which encourages challenge-based and regional focused research networks to find evidence-based solutions for the world’s most pressing development challenges. The integrated ‘web’ of challenges that impact society and environment, inevitably require global partnerships to achieve these goals together.

The Summit aimed to explore the collaboration opportunities that are involved with international development and global challenges research within the North East and beyond, whilst reinforcing the overarching theme of ‘innovation and creativity for international development’. Continue reading

Biodiversity collapse: the wild relatives of livestock and crops are disappearing

Philip McGowan, Newcastle University; Friederike Bolam, Newcastle University, and Louise Mair, Newcastle University

“Transformative change” is needed to prevent over a million species going extinct, according to a new report on the world’s biodiversity. Based on information gathered over three years from land, freshwater and marine ecosystems, and drawing heavily from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the report from the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services warns that Earth’s life-support systems may collapse if humanity doesn’t change the way it values and uses nature.

But what does this mean for everyday life? “Biodiversity” – which describes the variety and abundance of species living on Earth – is a term which doesn’t travel far outside debate between scientists and policymakers. The consequences of the biodiversity crisis can seem abstract and difficult for many people to understand, particularly the implications for their own lives. Continue reading

How to start interacting with the SDGs

The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide numerous opportunities for science and engineering to make a wider impact globally upon society and the environment. Aligning them with publicly funded research is imperative to their success. Times Higher Education just released their Impact ranking for the SDGs. I am pleased to say that Newcastle University was ranked 23rd in the world for this ranking.

If you’re an academic researcher, and new to the SDGs, one of the things you should know about them is that they are interconnected – each goal relates to, influences and affects the other goals.

There will always be specific goals that an individual or organisation may focus on but this doesn’t mean the others aren’t relevant to your work; indeed the framework is broad enough to enable achieving targets for different goals together. For example, while you thought you were working on clean water and sanitation, you may not have realised that you’re also helping to achieve gender equality.

If you do research or other relevant work to goal 3 – Good Health and Well-Being, likely it will have implications for other goals such as goal 1 – No Poverty and goal 2 – Zero Hunger.

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