As the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit begins, the Third World Social Science Reform (WSSR) is meeting to find solutions addressing global poverty and ending inequality. For South Africa, this event will be particularly important as the country seeks to overcome issues of imbalance aross the nation.
The WSSR, which was held from September 13 through September 16, gathered over 850 delegates from 57 countries worldwide to bring social science knowledge to issues plaguing the world today including poverty and inequality, human rights, and the role of civil society action.
The four-day event was themed “Transforming Global Relations for a Just World” suggesting the collaboration from the world’s top researchers and stakeholders could bring about positive action to world problems.
South African Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor made clear that South African scientists and inventors must work harder to put the continent’s goals in line with the global standard.
“They [scientists and inventors] tend to be an indication of a worrying inequality. We don’t publish; we don’t have a significant numbers of PHDs and we are not innovative enough. We don’t even have new products and we also don’t introduce services. We come off rather dismally,” said Pandor.
This is exactly how Africa as a whole is viewed to the world: under-developed, poor and little-to-no education. Currently, 70 percent of the world’s poor resides in Africa.
This statistic can be changed with the collaboration from ambassadors and representatives to make Sub-Saharan Africa something to boast about. As problems continue to set the country back, there have been many success stories.
Local activist Desmond D’sa from the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance believes money should be focused on science & technology projects that can create jobs and be less harmful to the environment.
“Right here in Durban, we have the Moses Mabhida stadium. How many jobs has it created? Is it sustainable? Lots of money is being diverted to Moses Mabhida stadium. We have seen mega projects causing hindrances to climate change. Scientists in this forum need to address this,” says D’sa.
While South Africa continues to find solutions, it will be interesting to see how they incorporate their scientific knowledge and discover new, inventive ways to solve global poverty.
– Alexandra Korman