Sixth Session of the Advisory Committee: Looking to the Future with Optimism

  • 2019/06/15     Dresden, Germany

    Image: Seohyun Park/UNU-FLORES

    By Robert Culligan, Communications and Advocacy

    The sixth annual session of the Advisory Committee (AC) took place 11–12 June this week. The session opened with a few select comments from the Committee Chair Prof. Rattan Lal (USA). Prof. Lal commended Prof. Edeltraud Guenther’s significant progress since beginning her tenure as the Director of UNU-FLORES in September last year. He also took the opportunity to welcome back all of the returning members.

    Image: Seohyun Park/UNU-FLORES

    On this occasion, Prof. Lal (USA) was joined by Dr David Malone (UNU Rector and Under-Secretary-General of the UN), Prof. Adelaide Nardocci (Brazil), and Prof. Wim van Vierssen (The Netherlands).

    After Prof. Lal’s introduction, Dr David Malone expressed his delight in returning to Dresden. He was keen to address the successes, changes, and obstacles facing UNU, and by extension the UN, when it comes to implementing a robust global development framework and to explore where UNU-FLORES fits in. Dr Malone made reference to various issues including, but not limited to, gender equality in the UN System, creating international consensus, applying the Nexus Approach to developing/emerging economies, UNU’s impact on policymakers, and measuring the effectiveness of UN causes.

    As the meeting progressed, UNU-FLORES Director Prof. Guenther discussed her tenure up to this point and how the AC’s role in relation to UNU-FLORES shall be shaped. The Director’s comments sparked consensus throughout the AC. Prof. Guenther then went on to present the various developments concerning UNU-FLORES since the last AC meeting.

    Image: Seohyun Park/UNU-FLORES

    After concluding the dialogue on broader issues related to UNU-FLORES, the topic of discussion shifted to more detail-oriented business. A session on the academic work programme and the progress report outlined the research journey UNU-FLORES had gone on over the last year and the areas of focus that have been prioritised in order to achieve the Institute’s long-term goals. Academic staff as well as PhD candidates presented their ongoing work on two central themes: resource recovery and reuse, and climate change adaptation. The SludgeTec team, for instance, presented their work on wastewater management in Latin America and outlined key areas for applying the Nexus Approach in the region.

    Image: Seohyun Park/UNU-FLORES

    As the meeting progressed, discussion shifted to the application of the Nexus Approach and ensuring that UNU-FLORES’s activities and pursuits had a maximal impact and how to vitalise the “nexus” brand. Members of the AC highlighted the importance of effectively communicating esoteric topics like water, soil, and waste management to various audiences from policymakers to the general public.

    On the second day of the Advisory Committee meeting, UNU Rector David Malone met with the Prime Minister of Saxony and the Saxon State Ministry of the Environment and Agriculture (SMUL), where a memorandum of understanding was signed. After the Rector’s return to the UNU-FLORES premises, the Advisory Committee reconvened to discuss solidifying donor relationships in Saxony.

    The Advisory Committee is an organ providing advice and guidance to the Director of UNU-FLORES, in accordance with the general principles, policies, and criteria formulated by the Council of the United Nations University to govern the activities of the University. Each Advisory Committee member, appointed by the Rector in consultation with the Chairman of the Council of the University, serves in their individual capacity and has been selected in virtue of their experience, qualifications, and recognised competence in the disciplines and practices related to the purposes of UNU-FLORES. The Rector of the University and the Director of UNU-FLORES are ex-officio members of the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee elected Prof. Rattan Lal as Chairman and meets in regular session at least once a year, as convened by the Director.

    For more information about the AC members, please visit the Advisory Committee page.