CIRCLE Fellowship and Travel Grants Promote Research Visibility and Networking during Global Events Held in New York, USA

Olawale Emmanuel Olayide
Post-Doctoral CIRCLE Visiting Research Fellow
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria (Home Institution) &
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana (Host)

This report captures the activities at the conferences, meeting, workshop, and United Nations summit on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during 18 September to 15 October, 2015 in New York, USA.

The Third International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD)
The third International Conference on SustainableDevelopment (ICSD) was held at the Columbia University, New York, in September. With over 1000 participants from around the world the conference aimed to identify and share practical, evidence-based solutions that could support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I participated actively as a member of the Scientific Committee and Chair of the Technical Session on Climate Change and Access to Energy and also presented a research paper titled “Review of Vulnerability and Policy Responses to Agricultural Water Supply and Extreme Rainfall Events in Nigeria” (click here for a link to the presentation). The conference offered a great opportunity for networking and sharing research experiences with other international researchers, as well as receiving feedback on research outputs. A key point emerging from the session on climate change and access to energy was the need for development (at community, regional and national levels) that favours progressive and sustainable investment in renewable sources of energy.

Olawale Olayide, CIRCLE Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Third International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD), Columbia University, New York City, USA

Special Panel on Extractive Industries and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Enhancing Collaboration for Transformation and Sustainability
The special panel session on extractive industries and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that followed the ICSD conference emphasised that the lack of prudent management of the natural resources was a major challenge limiting sustainable development of the extractive industry. The panelists concurred that the oil and gas sector should be differentiated from the mineral industry. It was also noted that the oil and gas sector is a major contributor to climate change through carbon dioxide emissions. The panel opined that renewable sources of energy should be encouraged in order to mitigate the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. The importance of the mining sector in terms of its contributions to economic growth was acknowledged, but this needs to be weighed up against the negative impacts on health and the environment. It noted that the world has a lot of untapped natural resources which could be harnessed for sustainable development. It was emphasized that research and policy frameworks should focus on such issues as reclamation, remediation and closures of mines so as to engender sustainable development in the mining sector.

The final event I attended in New York offered scholars and researchers the opportunity to present recent research findings to a global scientific audience and community of practice. The various presentations provided understanding on the behavioural, biophysical, economic, institutional, political, social and technological drivers of current and future global food security. The conference also addressed the issues of food system activities, including processing, distributing and consuming food, as well as food production from crop, livestock, tree, freshwater and marine sources; the availability, access, utilization and stability dimensions of food security; and the synergies and trade-offs between economic, environmental, health and social objectives and outcomes.

Cross-section of Participants during One of the Plenary Sessions at the Second International Conference on Global Food Security 2015 held at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

I participated actively and made a presentation titled: “What Happens When Rain Ceases to Fall? Trends, Variability and Hotspots of Rainfall, Food and Agricultural Production Indices in Nigeria Using Statistical and Geographic Information Systems Approaches”. The conference provided me with an opportunity to expand my research network with contacts in Cornell University’s research on Climate Smart Farming as well as the Food Climate Research Network of Oxford University in UK. More importantly, the global conference was facilitated by Elsevier and the journal on Global Food Security. I plan to submit the full paper presented at the conference to the journal on Global Food Security.

I profoundly acknowledge and appreciate the financial support from the Department for International Development (DfID) which was provided under the Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) programme. The conducive environment for research provided the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria (Home Institution) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana (Host Institution) is well cherished. I also appreciate the African Growth and Development Policy (AGRODEP) Modeling Consortium which is facilitated by the International Food Policy Research Institute, and United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network UNSDSN), for providing additional funding support.