Article by Hasifa Kabejja (Photo The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza (seated C) in a group photo with participants after the opening ceremony of the GORILLA Conference held 8th-9th December 2022 at Protea Hotel, Kampala.)
The International Conference on Geographical Science for Resilient Communities, Ecosystems and Livelihoods Under Global Environmental Change (GORILLA) seeks to contribute to the realization of the Global Development Agenda 2030 and the AU Agenda 2063.
The resilience of ecological and social systems has gained heightened attention globally and are at the center of the United Nations Global Development Agenda 2030 manifesting in; (a) the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, (b) the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015-2030 with its four priorities and 7 targets, (c) the Paris Agreement geared at keeping temperature within the 1.5 º-2 ºC threshold.
Substantial efforts by the global community have been variously invested in resilience building and sustainable systems in light of multiple exposures and threats. But huge gaps and challenges still remain that compromise realizing the desired goals. The effects of the global financial crisis, existing geo-political tensions and the emergence of COVID19 altered the resilience trajectory with new dimensions in health, natural resources and poverty.
Moreover, recent events exemplified by record temperatures registered in several countries but most notably in the UK, the increasing frequency and magnitude of hydrometeorological hazards as witnessed in Uganda, the increasing loss of biodiversity (>1,000,000 species lost) as recently reported by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have heightened the need for urgent interventions that protect vulnerable societies.
A consequence of these processes coupled with other factors including but not limited to land use and land cover conversions, rapid urbanization, is that mixed progress has been registered in realizing the sustainability targets for 2030 (https://sdg-tracker.org) with Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) countries posting dismal progress. Uganda currently ranks 136/163 in SDG performance with an SDG Index Score of 53.5 (https://dashboards.sdgindex.org/profiles/uganda). Contextual knowledge creation and utility coupled with harnessing evolving and emerging technology are critical ingredients in building sustainable and resilience pathways and systems which the Global Sustainability Agenda aspired to achieve.
The 2nd GORILLA Conference
The 2ndGORILLA Conference organized by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) sought to make a contribution to the realization of the Global Development Agenda 2030 and the AU Agenda 2063 by addressing two fundamental questions; (1) “how science, research and the academia can contribute to the expedited achievement of global targets and resolve societal challenges? (2) how local, regional and international partnerships as well as interactions between science, policy and practice can enhance the delivery and achievement of the global development targets?