Our vision at Springer Nature is to accelerate solutions to the world’s urgent challenges and we are passionate supporters of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are committed to disseminating knowledge related to the goals and advocating for them to raise awareness of their ambitions through our content and our communities.
Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the richest regions on the planet in terms of biodiversity, culture and history although it also faces some of the most difficult challenges: extreme poverty, social inequalities and the impacts of climate change. This part of the world, and the role of the SDGs in advancing progress against some of the difficulties it is facing, are often considerably overlooked.
To help understand this better, last month we convened the Sustainable Development in Latin America and Caribbean Summit, bringing together actors from across the region including those who regularly face and manage these challenges on the ground.
The event was precedent setting: across three separate sessions on climate change, food security and social impact, it successfully boosted the collective profile of Latin American and Caribbean voices. Regional perspectives were central to every discussion, but we were also joined by influential panelists from across the international science and research community who could amplify these perspectives to new audiences beyond the region. Registrants from 65 countries joined us and simultaneous translations to Spanish and Portuguese enhanced accessibility for participants.
It is rare for these groups to gather to discuss some of the challenges facing such an important part of our world and it was a privilege to learn from their lived experiences. Carolina Santacruz-Perez from the International Science Council (ISC) said that the event helped to improve communication between leading groups in the Latin American region, preventing duplication and consequently increasing the power of projects in this area. While Summit speaker, Co-Director and Chair of Global Health at Imperial College London David Nabarro remarked: “The countries of Latin America have led the world in explaining just why the Sustainable Development Goals matter…This particular kind of conference is playing an enormous role in increasing international understanding.”
As well as increased understanding, the sessions identified practical policy interventions needed to advance the SDGs, particularly Goal 2 - Zero Hunger, which as event hosts we will continue to amplify across our networks to accelerate solutions to global hunger. Maya Takagi, the Regional Program Leader for Food and Agriculture Organization, spoke about how policy must be used to ensure access to food: a right that needs to be equally guaranteed to all populations, irrespective of income, ethnicity, gender and country. While Adrián Luis García García Ph.D from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico said that public policy must reach down from the political arena to the rural one, to unleash the economic potential of these communities so they become efficient providers of agriproducts.
At Springer Nature, we firmly believe in the importance of research and education in driving progress forward and we know that our most significant contribution towards the SDGs is through our publishing activity. However, we also believe in the power of an interdisciplinary, international approach to solving global challenges that cannot be addressed in isolation. As a global publisher we have a network that stretches across funders, researchers, policymakers and practitioners and through this event - and others like it - we used our convening power to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders in a new way, for a refreshing take on this vital part of the world: combining local and policy expertise as well as regional voices and an international stage. We will continue to play our role in facilitating important cross-sector and cross-country discussion around the SDGs, to accelerate solutions to the challenges facing this region and around the world.
Thank you to those who took part in the Sustainable Development in Latin America and Caribbean Summit. For the full list of speakers visit the Summit’s website. They included Ricardo Galvão; Professor of Applied Physics at the University of São Paulo, Edwin Josue Castellanos; Research Director at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Claudia Martinez; Country Director at the Food and Land Use Coalition in Colombia, José Luis Samaniego Leyva; Director of the Division of Sustainable Development and Human Settlements at the Economic Commission for Latin America in Chile and María José Lubertino; Executive Director of the Citizen Association for Human Rights (Foro de los Países de América Latina y el Caribe) from Argentina.
You can watch the recording of the event here. We look forward to continuing to support important conversations around the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean and urge those interested to visit our SDG Publishing Programmewebsite for further details of our work in supporting the goals.