The Role of National Science Academies in supporting the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)

In Particular, Goal 2 and Goal 3

Dr Max Paoli
Dr Nelson Torto
Mrs Jackie Olang-Kado
Prof Roseanne Diab

Dr Max Paoli

With a B.Sc. Hons. in Biochemistry and a D.Phil. in Chemistry, Max Paoli worked in the area of protein structure and molecular recognition for almost 20 years. His research work took him from York, UK, to laboratories in New Zealand and the US, including the Harvard Medical School. With academic positions in Australia and in the UK, he was also a BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK, for 5 years. Max and his group solved the structures of several protein-ligand complexes and published research articles in peer-reviewed international journals.  He taught both entry level and advanced university courses, and supervised over a dozen PhD and MSc students. He was a course convener in Australia where he developed a lecture series on proteomics. In Cambridge, he a tutor at St. John’s College. Max Paoli has been working with The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) since early 2016, serving as Programme Coordinator.  He is in charge of overlooking the activities of the Academy, such as the PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowships, Research Grants, Exchanges, Prizes. Max Paoli is interested in various issues related to the use of science and scientific education for sustainable development, and has lectured on sustainability.

Dr Nelson Torto

Nelson Torto is the Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), a pan African organisation which  drives sustainable development in Africa through science technology and innovation.

Prior to joining the AAS, he was the founding CEO of the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), which values cocreation and empathy. He was the Head of Chemistry at Rhodes University, and Associate Professor  at the University of Botswana. He is a recipient of several international awards, has served in various capacities in African and international networks and organisations as well as editorial boards.

Ms Jackie Olang-Kado

Jackie Olang-Kado is the Executive Director of the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC). NASAC, whose secretariat is based in Nairobi, Kenya, is a consortium of twenty-four science academies in Africa, with membership drawn from all spheres of science. Jackie is a Masters of Arts graduate in Project Planning and Management (MA-PPM) from the University of Nairobi.  She also holds a Bachelor of Education degree (BEd.) in Mathematics and Commerce, from the same university. Her specialization is project management for policy in science and she has over sixteen years’ experience working with scientists in Africa. She is an astute proponent for home-grown solutions that will enable Africa realize its potential. Besides her role in NASAC, she also provides input to a number of African initiatives and also serves on the several national and international Committees.

Prof Roseanne Diab

Roseanne Diab is Executive Officer of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and Emeritus Professor in Environmental Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is a Fellow of the university, the South African Geographical Society, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). Her research interests are in Atmospheric Science, with a focus on climate change and air quality. She has over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has supervised approximately 50 PhD and Masters’ students. Prof Diab has served on numerous international committees such as the International Ozone Commission (IOC), the Commission on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution (CACGP) and the SPARC (Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate) Steering Group. She currently serves on the African Union High-level Panel on Emerging Technologies. She is active in the Organisation for Women Scientists in the Developing World (OWSD) and serves on the Gender Advisory Board to TWAS

National Academies have long held a central position in providing independent, objective, science-based advice on important and at times critical issues affecting the nation, to inform public policy and government decision making. They include some of the best scientific minds and are therefore an important source of expertise. As Academies have the capacity to assemble scientific advice on challenges such as climate change, food security, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), their role and potential in bridging the science-policy gap is paramount. This uniquely useful function to bring governments and scientists closer to each other should be cherished and strengthened.

Many Academies, including the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC), the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), have played an advisory role in different capacities, nationally, regionally and globally. However, the role of the academy in public life and especially in democratic governance may not be generally understood or accepted. There is therefore a need to expand the scope and significance of Academies.

  • Their engagements with the public and private sector to propagate and mobilise knowledge to increase public awareness;
  • Their contribution in strengthening the national systems of innovation.