Top SA prof named as co-chair of UN group on Sustainable Development Goals
The group will advise on ways of harnessing science, technology and innovation to accelerate progress on the goals
Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim has been appointed to serve on the UN high-level 10-member group in support of the technology facilitation mechanism (TFM) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Abdool Karim will co-chair the UN 10-member group for two years.
She is part of a new group of 10 renowned experts appointed to support the UN TFM. The group will advise on the ways of harnessing science, technology and innovation to accelerate progress on the SDGs.
“I congratulate Quarraisha on this prestigious and distinguished appointment that positions SA as an integral partner on the UN global agenda on science, innovation and technology development,” said chair of the Caprisa board, Bongiwe Ntuli.
Ntuli said Abdool Karim will join eminent and distinguished individuals from civil society, the private sector and the scientific community who were appointed by the secretary-general following an extensive selection process.
“The 10-member group will work with the UN Inter-agency Task Team on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (IA TT) to provide ideas, guidance and recommendations. It represents and mobilises inputs from civil society, private sector and scientific communities around the world,” said Ntuli.
The UN said the group will work closely with stakeholder groups, including business, youth and children, and the academic and research community, with the first meeting planned for late May.
Abdool Karim is an NRF A1-rated scientist, an infectious diseases epidemiologist and associate scientific director of Caprisa.
She is a professor in clinical epidemiology at Columbia University, New York, and pro-vice-chancellor for African health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Abdool Karim is also the UNAids special ambassador for adolescents and HIV, and co-chairs the UNAids advisory group to the executive director. She is the executive group member of the WHO Covid-19 solidarity therapeutics trial and the WHO Covid-19 solidarity vaccines trial.
Her research over the past 30 years has focused on preventing HIV infection in adolescent girls and young women.
Abdool Karim’s scientific contributions in highlighting the vulnerability of young women, the need for women-initiated technologies and integration of HIV prevention efforts into sexual reproductive health services has been recognised by more than 30 prestigious local and international awards, including SA’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe, from the president of SA.
She is also a recipient of the AU’s Kwame Nkrumah Prize for Science and Technology and the TWAS-Lenovo Prize from the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) "for her exceptional and distinguished contributions to HIV prevention and women's health".
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