Monash scientist appointed to UN Sustainable Development Advisory Group

Monash University academic Dr Shirin Malekpour is the only Australian among 15 world-leading scientists appointed by the United Nations to advise the UN on global sustainable development.

Dr Malekpour a senior lecturer at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI), was selected by UN Secretary-General António Guterres to be part of the Independent Group of Scientists that will draft the UN’s 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR).

The GSDR is the peak scientific input to the UN on global progress on the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2019 GSDR, The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development, has received considerable global attention, and is influencing the work of the UN and others.

Dr Malekpour said she was very excited to be part of an impressive group of scientists shaping the next GSDR.

“The fact that the first Australian scientist appointed to the group is a Monash academic is a testament to Monash’s track record in sustainable development research and education, and an incredible recognition of MSDI’s leadership on SDG action,” Dr Malekpour said.

“I am hoping to leverage my UN appointment to influence the public debate and mobilise actors from academia, governments, businesses and civil society in Australia and our region around SDG action. We know that we cannot achieve the SDGs without transformative action across different levels of society. And we have a small window of opportunity to do that.”

Dr Malekpour is a social scientist with expertise in strategic planning and governance for sustainable development, and has previously worked on water and wastewater projects in Africa and the Middle East. In 2018, she was named one of the world’s top 25 young scientists in the field of sustainable development.

Monash University Provost and Senior Vice-President Professor Marc Parlange said Dr Malekpour’s appointment represented a landmark moment in Australia’s endeavour to foster international collaboration on sustainable development.

“The Global Sustainable Development Report is core to coordinating global progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. As a member of the peak scientific group driving its development, Shirin will make an invaluable contribution in advancing sustainability worldwide,” Professor Parlange said.

“My warmest congratulations to Dr Malekpour and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute on this highly prestigious appointment.”