October 08, 2019

United Nations Day event at SIU will focus on sustainable development

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Examining the United Nations Sustainable Development goals and how they can be utilized to increase sustainability efforts in the region are the focus of a workshop at Southern Illinois University Carbondale later this month.

The United Nations Day 2019 event is set for 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 24 at Old Main, located on the second floor of the Student Center. The workshop, which is open to the public, is free and pre-registration is not required.

Guest speakers will discuss relevant sustainability issues

The event will feature special guest speakers addressing relevant topics. The speakers are:

  • Javier Garcia Martinez, professor of inorganic chemistry and director of the Molecular Nanotechnology Laboratory at the University of Alicante in Spain, will address “The Role of Chemistry in Creating a Sustainable World” via ZOOM technology at 12:30 p.m. He is the co-author of “The Chemical Element” and has published extensively about nanomaterials, catalysis and energy.

Those who aren’t able to attend can still access the virtual ZOOM presentation by Martnez online at https://zoom.us/j/378479003 or listen in by dialing 646/558-8656 on a mobile device. The meeting ID, required for online or telephone access, is 378 479 003.

  • Rachel Smidt, communications manager for Global Health at the United Nations Foundation, will present “Climate Change and the SDGs” at 3 p.m. She previously spent several years addressing global health issues for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
  • Ella Lacey, professor emeritus at the SIU School of Medicine and a longtime Peace Corps volunteer and Rotarian, will discuss World Polio Day.

Highlighting SDGs

The United Nations has developed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a sort of blueprint to enhance the world’s future. In conjunction with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, U.N. member states in 2015adopted these goals, which speak to a wide variety of topics and areas that  work together to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth while  addressing climate change and striving to protect oceans and forests.

The goals of interconnected topics include:

  • Working to eliminate hunger.
  • Assuring clean water and sanitation.
  • Ensuring affordable and clean energy for everyone.
  • Making cities and communities sustainable.

Those who attend will  also have the chance to talk with campus and community collaborators who are working toward bringing the university and region closer to all of the 17 goals.

Raising awareness

Organizers say the objective of the event is to celebrate U.N. Day, which has the theme “Our Planet. Our Future,” while increasing awareness of the 17 SDGs.

Light refreshments will be served and those attending will be eligible to win prize drawings.

More involvement welcome

The event is a collaborative presentation from SIU Sustainability, the SIU United Nations Association registered student organization and the Southern Illinois chapter of the United Nations Association of the USA. The event will expand upon discussions featured at a Feb. 29 conference on campus. Academic Impact, the U.N.’s newsletter, featured a story about that event.

Anyone from the campus or community who would like to share ways in which their fields of study, departments, organizations or programs are connected with and/or working to enhance progress toward sustainable development goals is invited to be part of the event. Those interested in setting up an informative display to tell about their work, share ideas and teach others about how to make planet Earth a healthier and more vibrant place are welcome to submit an application form. All applications are due by Friday.